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JUHANI ARTTO
HOMEPAGE 2013

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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. All 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 agreement 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 reiterated 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 but not as much as the employer representatives presented when publishing their initiatives.

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 get a 1.9 per cent pay rise on 1 November 2012.

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