Since 1968, the labour market organisations have usually negotiated centralised agreements between themselves or so called incomes policy agreements in partnership with the government. These agreements generally concern the framework for pay rises, social, pension and training benefits, taxes and costs in addition to the general rules of the labour market. Other matters agreed in connection with the incomes policy agreements have concerned, for example, unemployment benefit and annual leave. The central level agreements are normally valid for one to two years.
Once the trade union confederations and employers' confederations have reached a centralised incomes agreement, the trade unions and employer associations negotiate the finer details to suit the needs of the branches.
In case the central organisations do not negotiate or reach any agreement, the trade unions and employer associations negotiate collective agreements for each branch. These agreements cover pay and working conditions.
At present the Metalworkers' Union has eight collective agreements with various employers' organisations. The largest agreement for technology industry (metal industry) covers approx. 120 000 employees. The terms of a collective agreement apply to all employees, both union members and non-members. A national collective agreement may be adjusted on company basis, but cannot be downgraded. In recent years, additional possibilities for local bargaining have been included into collective agreements, for instance concerning flexibility in working hours.
When the national collective agreement is expiring, local branches can be asked to submit their proposals for the next collective bargaining round. Discussion on the bargaining policy is going on in the National Council all the time and agreements can be negotiated also when the collective agreement is valid.
The final decision on the collective agreement is taken by the Executive Committee or the National Council.
Should the negotiations fail, the Executive Committee or the National Council may declare industrial action after a membership ballot.
Contents of collective agreements
National collective agreements stipulate the minimum terms of employment to which the employee is entitled. Agreements cover for example the following:
- minimum levels of pay
- recommendations for the payroll system
- working hours (36.6 hours per week on average)
- pay during sick leave and maternity leave
- overtime and overtime pay
- pay entitlements for national holidays
- annual holiday and holiday pay
- rights of the shop steward
Whilst an agreement is in force there is an obligation to refrain from industrial action. In the event of any dispute on the interpretation of an agreement, an attempt should be made to solve the dispute by negotiation.
If there is a dispute at a working place the first attempts to settle the disagreement must be conducted at factory level. First between the worker and the foreman, secondly between the shop steward and the representative of the employer. If the solution is not reached, the dispute will be negotiated between the Metalworkers' Union and the Technology Industries of Finland or with other employers' organisations. If necessary, the final decision will be made in the tripartite arbitrary court.
Do you know your terms of work?
- in English Do you know your terms of work? PDF
- in German Kennst du deine tarifrechte? PDF
- in Estonian Kas sa tunned oma töötingi musi? PDF
- in Russian Знаете ли вы свои трудовые условия? PDF
- in Polish Przepisy dotyczące warunków pracy PDF
- in Czech Znáte podmínky vaší práce? PDF
- in Finnish Tunnetko työehtosi? PDF
What every employee should know
The Finnish Trade Union Movement - what every employee should know? SAK, STTK and Akava 2005