Questions and answers about the technology industry’s collective agreement situation
1. What was the starting point?
In spring 2021, Technology Industries of Finland announced that it would no longer prepare national collective agreements. At the same time, it announced that a new association, Technology Industry Employers of Finland, would be responsible for contractual activity. The Industrial Union promotes its members’ terms of employment, and announced already in the spring that it would continue to negotiate its members’ collective agreements.
2. The collective agreement of the technology industry will expire on 30 November 2021. Why were negotiations not started until October?
Although Technology Industries of Finland announced its decision in March, the new employers’ association did not start operating until August.
Technology Industry Employers of Finland had a fairly low number of members for a long time, and it wasn’t sufficiently clear which companies were members of the association. The Industrial Union decided that the negotiations could not be started until the employers’ association had attained a sufficiently broad representation of the companies in the sector.
At its Union Council Meeting of 21 October, the Industrial Union concluded that the employers’ association had a sufficient number of members and that negotiations on a collective agreement could begin.
3. Over what period will the technology industry negotiations take place?
The negotiations will be held within a strict timetable, and the Industrial Union’s objective is to achieve a negotiation result before the end of the agreement period. However, there is a possibility that a result will not be achieved before the deadline.
4. Do companies negotiate company-specific agreements in the technology industry?
The Industrial Union is not aware of any companies that intend to negotiate a company-specific collective agreement. However, it seems to have come as a surprise to many companies that the Industrial Union is the party that company-specific collective agreements can be negotiated with.
Throughout the year, Technology Industries of Finland has been informing companies that they can choose between a national and a company-specific collective agreement. Now it seems as though companies across the board have selected a national, generally applicable collective agreement.
5. If an agreement is not reached by the deadline, what happens next?
In the event that a new collective agreement is not in place by 1 December 2021, the technology industry agreement sector will be in a situation where there is no agreement. This would mean that the commitment to industrial peace is no longer in force either. The employers’ side has periodically indicated that in their opinion, the residual protection of terms of employment does not apply. However, according to the Industrial Union the residual protection is in force, and Finland’s leading occupational law experts also support this view. If employers undermine the terms of employment of the Industrial Union’s members in a situation where there is no agreement, the union is prepared to respond with robust measures.
6. What is the best way to defend and advance the rights and benefits of employees who are in the Industrial Union’s agreement sectors?
The best ways to defend the employees’ cause are:
- join the Industrial Union union at www.teollisuusliitto.fi/en/membership/join-the-union;
- ensure that your workmates are union members;
- make sure that your workplace has a shop steward and an occupational safety representative.
The higher the level of organisation can be raised, the stronger the union’s negotiating position will be in relation to the employer side.
Union membership is especially important now!
7. Where can I find more information?
Additional information is available from the Industrial Union and the union’s employment relationship hotline at 020 690 447.