Negotiations have now begun in the public sector
Collective bargaining has now begun in the public sector. The collective agreements for employees of universities, municipalities, the church and the state are valid until the end of March. Negotiations for new agreements began in stages after mid January. Now nearly all sectors are engaged in negotiations and in nearly all of them both sides of the table have made their negotiation goals known.
In these negotiations, employees are represented by JUKO, an association for highly educated public employees. The association functions under Akava and contains 36 unions, including Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK.
JUKO's advocacy covers over 5 000 TEK members. The largest sectors are the universities, the state and the municipalities. Some 2 000 TEK members work in universities, some 1 600 with the state and some 1 400 are employed by municipalities (situation in January 2020). The TEK representatives working in these sectors are Daniel Valtakari (universities), Pia Hiltunen (the state) and Tapani Laurikainen (municipalities).
Pia Hiltunen, what is the current mood of the negotiations?
– We are in good spirits. We are constantly negotiating and new negotiations are scheduled all the time. Even though the agreements are to expire at the end of the month, we will continue for as long as necessary. We will bring the agreements of all sectors across the finish line at the same time.
Pia Hiltunen, what are the issues currently on the table?
– The issues are very much the same as in the private sector; on what terms do employees and officials conduct their work. JUKO wants to abolish kiky hours in all sectors or, alternatively, a real compensation for the extension of working hours.
– The employment terms on the table are working hours, annual leave, family leave, holiday bonuses, wage increases and pay during sick leave. These terms do not come from legislation, Hiltunen says as a reminder.
JUKO's negotiation goals
In addition to the removal of or compensation for kiky hours, JUKO also seeks wage increases and a wage programme or the development of a salary system for all sectors. There are no percentual demands as of yet, but the goal is to fix the wage level of highly educated expert workers in relation to the private sector and to match the wages with the demanding nature of the work.
A wage programme (in Finnish) that promotes wage parity is being negotiated especially in the municipal sector.
In the university sector, the negotiations have focused especially on the problem of fixed-term employment (in Finnish).
– In the university sector we are seeking raises that are equal to what has already been agreed in other sectors, adds TEK's representative Daniel Valtakari.
For state employees, the negotiations have highlighted issues related to well-being at work, such as being able to take care of one's elderly parents.
JUKO's view is that the employee must be compensated for work-related travel time. Now people often travel on their own time, which leaves less time for recovery.
JUKO is also seeking reforms to family leave, including an extension of paid paternity leave.
Well-being at work is also on the table. JUKO suggests increasing employee-centred flexibility, such as making it easier to work remotely.
– Remote work is also an act for the climate when unnecessary travelling can be avoided, says Daniel Valtakari.
Furthermore, JUKO wishes to standardize collective agreement periods, ensure that supervisors have enough time for actual supervision work and improve the position of employee representatives by such means as increasing their access to information, for example.
Follow the progress of the negotiations:
- Social media: #neuvotellen2020, #sopien2020, @JUKOry
- A negotiating association for highly educated public employees.
- Represents 200 000 highly educated employees and supervisors.
- Municipalities, the state, the church, universities, AVAINTA sectors, the Finnish National Gallery, the Institute of Occupational Health
- Association of Akava associations, 11 member associations with 36 member unions, including TEK
- 3 900 employee representatives