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Study to probe into disputes concerning the choice of applicable collective agreement and the conciliation system

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 24.2.2021 8.30
Press release
Two people shaking hands as a sign of an agreement

Minister of Labour Tuula Haatainen will launch a study on the mechanisms for resolving disputes that relate to the choice of collective agreements and to the functioning of the mediation system. The appointed rapporteurs are Minna Etu-Seppälä (Master of Laws, trained on the bench) and Simo Zitting (Master of Laws).

The purpose of the investigation is, among other things, to take stock of such disputes and their causes. The problem in these disputes is that the employer and the employee cannot agree on which collective agreement should be applied to the work to be carried out by the employee.

Another goal is to identify ways and mechanisms to facilitate the resolution of disputes. The rapporteurs will also look for ways to prevent disruptions in industrial peace caused by disputes relating to the choice of the applicable collective agreement. The proposed solutions may concern practices or relate to legislation.

“Disputes concerning the choice of applicable collective agreements cause confusion in the labour market more and more often. I doubt that there are any easy and straightforward solutions to remedy the situation. Doing this research in nevertheless important so that the labour market organisations would have at their disposal a wide array of alternatives for maintaining industrial peace and resolving labour disputes,” says Minister of Labour Tuula Haatainen.

How well does the dispute conciliation system function?

The study also focuses on the conciliation system, especially in the case of disputes concerning the choice of the applicable collective agreement. The rapporteurs are invited to propose measures to improve the existing system. They are also instructed to examine what role the other institutions that support the conciliation system have in the prevention or mediation of labour disputes.

The mandate does not cover any issues related to the collective bargaining system.

Report by end of August

The report will be submitted to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment by 31 August 2021.

Based on it, suggestions for improvement regarding the operation of labour market organisations will be prepared bilaterally between labour market organisations. Any proposals on the further development of legislation will be prepared on a tripartite basis together with the central labour market organisations.

Jenni Karjalainen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 40 751 5496
Katariina Tirri, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. tel. +358 295 047 180

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