Unions turn down employer
proposals to open up the framework agreement for new negotiations
Helsinki (25.08.2012 - Juhani Artto). Employers' proposals to renegotiate
the framework agreement have not been well received by union organizations.
public sector employees and over 90 per cent of the private sector
employees are covered by industry-specific collective agreements that apply
the framework agreement negotiated and signed last autumn by the labour
market central organizations.
The two strongest employer organizations (the Confederation of Finnish
Industries EK and the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries) made
their proposals on Thursday and Friday. They argued the need for the terms of the
to be renegotiated on account of worsened economic conditions. They also
warned of mass dismissals unless the agreed pay rises are reduced.
Union leader reactions did not leave any room for speculation. They
that the framework agreement can only be terminated or suspended if the
parties who signed it
agree to do so jointly. They admitted that the economic outlook has weakened
as much as the employer representatives presented when publishing their
Sture Fjäder, the President of the union confederation Akava remarked that
such threats incite fear at work places. "We need consensus and cooperation,
not quarrelling", he advised the employer camp.
Riku Aalto, the President of Metalworkers' Union, reminded us that the real
goal of the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries is to replace the
national collective agreements with company-specific collective agreements
or even with individual employment agreements. "This we reject outright",
Aalto said adamantly.
Antti Rinne, the President of the salaried employees union Pro, explained
that its agreement with the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries
allows for local negotiations on the already agreed pay rises. However, this
regulation applies only to work places where the salaried employees have
their own shop steward(s). If the local level parties cannot agree on higher
or lower rises than the already agreed 1.9 per cent, each and everyone will
1.9 per cent pay rise on 1 November 2012.