Questions and answers on the strike

1. Why have we taken industrial action?

The Industrial Union wants to protect its members’ interests. The union’s main objectives in the collective bargaining process of autumn 2019 are as follows: 1) eliminating the unpaid extra hours introduced by the Competitiveness Pact and 2) blocking employers’ proposals of less favourable terms.

The employers’ union is fighting hard to keep the Competitiveness Pact in place. Moreover, employers have not given up their proposals to weaken workers’ position, rights and terms of employment. The fact that not a single improvement to the terms of employment has been brought to the table is expressive of employers’ attitude.

The Industrial Union is therefore left with no alternative but to expedite the negotiations through industrial action in order to protect the position and rights of its members.

Taking the labour market in a direction that is more favourable to workers is in workers’ own hands. Workers can only achieve their goal by joining a union, becoming organised and fighting for their rights together.

2. Who is within the scope of the strike?

The strike affects specific workplaces in the technical service and maintenance sector, the rubber industry, the glass and ceramics industry, the ore mines industry, the mechanical forestry industry, the plastics and chemical products industry, the chemical basic industry, the technology industry and the oil, gas and petrochemical products industry.

A list of the workplaces that are participating in the strike can be found here.

All work that is governed by a collective agreement falls within the scope of the strike.

The strike affects all workers regardless of job description or membership in the Industrial Union.

3. When does the strike start and when will it end?

All shifts that are scheduled to start between midnight on Monday, 9 December 2019 and 11.59 pm on Wednesday, 11 December 2019 are within the scope of the strike.

Shifts that begin before midnight but continue past the start of the strike will be completed.

No shifts that are scheduled to start during the strike will be started or worked. Only shifts that begin after the strike has ended will be worked.

The strike will paralyse the production process of the workplaces that participate in the strike. If the process needs to be shut down, this will be done before the strike begins and reversed once the strike has ended.

4. Is the strike legal?

Yes, it is. The collective agreements of all the sectors that are participating in the strike will have expired when the strike begins. These sectors are therefore under no contractual obligation to keep industrial peace. The right to take industrial action is a fundamental right.

5. Can my employer terminate my contract if I take part in the strike?

Employers do not have the right to terminate or cancel workers’ contracts if they take part in industrial action initiated by a trade union. The Industrial Union is a trade union.

6. What if my employer orders me to work despite the strike?

Striking is a legal action that employers cannot interfere with by, for example, attempting to prevent their employees from leaving the workplace or imposing penalties. Workers’ elected representatives are also involved in the strike.

If your employer is trying to prevent you from taking part in the strike, please contact the Industrial Union’s on-call strike service.

7. What limits have been set on the strike?

The strike will not affect work that is necessary to protect human lives and health or to prevent serious threats to the environment, companies’ occupational health centres, factory fire brigades or emergency work.

The Industrial Union’s central strike committee has set the limits for the strike and communicated them to the chief shop stewards of the workplaces that are participating in the strike. The chief shop stewards are responsible for negotiating which works, if any, will not be affected by the strike with employers on the basis of the strike limits.

The Industrial Union’s central strike committee can grant exemptions from the strike limits in special circumstances. Employers can seek exemptions by e-mailing the on-call strike service.

8. Will strike allowance be paid to those who participate in the strike?

Yes. EUR 70 will be paid in strike allowance for each shift scheduled to take place during the strike. EUR 16 of the amount is tax-free, and the remainder is taxed at 35 per cent. The union deducts the tax at source. The amount paid to members will therefore be EUR 51.10. Only members of the union are entitled to strike benefits.

The members have to have joined the Industrial union before 5 December 2019.

9. Will there be allowance paid due to lockout? 

Yes. EUR 70 strike allowance will be paid for each shift scheduled to take place during the lockout. EUR 16 of the amount is tax-free, and the remainder is taxed at 35 per cent. The union deducts the tax at source. The amount paid to members will therefore be EUR 51.10. Only members of the union are entitled to allowance.

The members have to have joined the Industrial union before 5 December 2019.

10. Will you get the unemployment benefit during the lay-off and strike?

If lay-off period begins before the strike and ends after the strike, the employee´s lay-off period continues during the strike.

If lay-off period begins before the strike, but ends during the strike, the employee joins the strike until the strike ends.

To make sure that the employee gets the unemployment benefit during the strike, this requires that the announcement about the lay-off period, has been announced by the employer before the declaration of the strike.

If the strike starts before the lay-off period, the employee joins the strike for the entire time. In this case it does not matter, at what point the employer has announced the lay-off period.

11. How do I apply for strike allowance?

Applications for strike allowance can be submitted via eService on the Industrial Union’s website. You will need your personal online banking details to log in. Applications for strike allowance cannot be processed until the last day of the strike, 11 December 2019.

If you cannot see a button that says “Strike benefits” after you have logged in, check that you have entered the details of your workplace in your eService profile. If the button still does not appear, please e-mail [email protected]

12. How can I get more information about the strike?

If you have any questions about the strike, you can ask your shop steward or contact the union’s on-call strike service.

The on-call strike service can be reached by telephone on +358 (0)20 774 1039 or by e-mail at [email protected] The on-call strike service operates between 8.30 am and 7.00 pm from Monday to Friday and between 1.00 and 6.00 pm on Sunday, 8 December.