Local government deal struck, finally


Helsinki (29.05.2020 – Heikki Jokinen)

All parties to the local government collective agreement accepted the deal on Thursday 28 May. The long and difficult negotiation marathon has finally reached an outcome with a new agreement in place.

“Compared with the earlier proposal made by the National Conciliator we were able to get higher pay rises, and earlier dropping of the unpaid working hours”, says Päivi Niemi-Laine, President of the JHL – The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors.

By unpaid work she refers to the annual 24 unpaid extra working hours when the then Government effectively coerced the unions into accepting this and became part of almost all collective agreements in 2016. With the new deal this will end on 30 August 2020.

“What we are disappointed about is that the coronavirus bonus is missing completely. It would have been reasonable in these exceptional times to pay the bonus to all.”

The collective agreement is for the period 1.4.2020 −28.2.2022, which is 23 months. The first pay rise of 1.22 per cent or at least 26 Euro is to be dispensed on 1 August this year. Another pay rise of 1 per cent is to be added on from 1 April 2021.

There is also a sum of 0.8 per cent to be agreed at local level, valid from 1 April 2021. Employers and trade unions can negotiate on how to use this at different working places. Should there be no agreement, the employer then may decide who is to get it.

Separate deal for social and health care

Millariikka Rytkönen, President of Tehy – The Union of Health and Social Care Professionals in Finland is of the opinion that the deal includes several improvements when compared with the proposal made by the National Conciliator in April.

“To have a separate agreement for the social and health care professionals was the decisive factor in accepting the deal”, she says. Tehy has been demanding this for many years together with Super – the Finnish Union of Practical Nurses. This deal will begin from September 2021.

Important for Tehy and Super, too, is that the rules concerning period-based work have not been liberated as radically as they were in the April proposal. From now on longer four weeks work periods instead of three week work periods are only allowed in respect of dates like Easter and Christmas.

There is no coronavirus bonus in the deal, and this is a disappointment for the unions. The employer did not rule this out completely, but as the local governments are very poor in the midst of the corona crisis, money for this should be made available by the state.

Collective bargaining concerning local government began back in January and the existing agreements expired at the end of March. The agreement covers 420,000 local government employees.

 

Read more:

Proposal for a deal in local government collective agreement rejected (08.05.2020)

Local government sector collective bargaining still fully open (08.04.2020)