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Rapporteurs: Important to make use of the existing opportunities for local collective bargaining

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 1.3.2021 9.10 | Published in English on 1.3.2021 at 14.45
Press release
Jukka Ahtela and Joel Salminen
Jukka Ahtela and Joel Salminen

Report on the current state of local collective bargaining and the measures for promoting it has been published. According to rapporteurs Jukka Ahtela and Joel Salminen, the best opportunities to promote local bargaining are within normally applicable collective agreements, that is, in companies that belong to employers’ organisations. In their opinion, possibilities for local bargaining exist, but they are not fully utilised.

The report by Ahtela (Master of Laws trained on the bench) and Salminen (Cooperation Ombudsman) describes the current state and practices of local collective bargaining in different sectors and in companies and work communities of different sizes. The report is mainly based on interviews with stakeholders and companies. The interviews focused on three themes:

  1. Information: Are the parties aware of the existing possibilities for local bargaining?
  2. Skills: Do they know how to make use of such possibilities? 
  3. Trust: Which factors affect the atmosphere, mutual relations and trust at the workplace?

The rapporteurs consider that, at best, local collective bargaining reconciles the needs of the parties in a meaningful way and provides both with concrete benefits in the shorter or longer term.

Based on the report, there is a broad consensus among the parties on the usefulness of local bargaining and the need to promote better contractual skills and culture. Mutual trust at different levels is deemed to be the basis for contractual skills and culture. The rapporteurs note, however, that the need for local collective bargaining varies between sectors and companies.

Rapporteurs propose further measures

Based on their observations, the rapporteurs will submit proposals on further measures to the collective bargaining parties and the legislator.

  • Existing possibilities for bargaining should be better utilised within normally applicable collective agreements. Collective agreements and legislation could make the use of local collective bargaining easier.
  • Unorganised companies should be able to use the flexibility offered by collective agreements similarly to organised companies.
  • The scope for local bargaining should be enhanced in sectoral agreements.
  • The need to develop labour provisions that would allow for local bargaining should be assessed. However, there is no apparent and immediate need for legislative amendments.
  • Information on the opportunities for local bargaining should be available more widely and in an understandable form.
  • Negotiation skills and contractual expertise should be developed at the local level, for example through training.

Government seeks solutions that balance flexibility with security

The Government of Prime Minister Sanna Marin aims to increase local collective bargaining based on mutual trust between the parties. Local collective bargaining will be developed by providing personnel with adequate information and opportunities to influence. Local collective bargaining will be advanced through the system of collective agreements.

In the autumn 2020 budget session, the Government decided to commission a report on measures to strengthen the trust and negotiating competence required for local collective bargaining within both generally binding collective agreements and normally binding collective agreements. On 14 October 2020, Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen appointed Jukka Ahtela (Master of Laws trained on the bench) and Joel Salminen (Cooperation Ombudsman) as rapporteurs.

The report was submitted to the sub-group on local collective bargaining working under the Ministerial Working Group on Promotion of Employment in early 2021. The Ministerial Working Group on Promotion of Employment will discuss the sub-group’s work progress at its meeting on 3 March 2021.

Ville Kopra, State Secretary, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 184
Jukka Ahtela, Master of Laws trained on the bench, tel. +358 40 550 7978
Joel Salminen, Cooperation Ombudsman, tel. +358 40 050 4353

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