Co-operation within a community-wide group of undertakings and an undertaking

The purpose of co-operation procedures is to ensure the exchange of opinions and dialogue between the management and personnel of community-wide groups of undertakings and companies that form part thereof. Another purpose of the Act is to improve the rights of employees to obtain information and to be consulted with regard to the operation of undertakings and groups of undertakings and their future prospects, in particular on matters wherein the related decisions affect the position of the employees and their employment.

International co-operation within groups is subject to the Act on Co-operation Within Finnish and Community-Scale Groups of Undertakings. The Act is applied in Finnish undertaking groups that have at least one thousand employees in the European Economic Area and in a minimum of two countries in the European Economic Area, each with a minimum of 150 employees.

Community-scale groups refer to groups in accordance with the Limited Liability Companies Act, undertakings comparable to them, where the undertakings or the form of undertaking is something other than a limited liability company and undertakings with several locations.

The Act does not apply to those undertakings where international co-operation within groups was agreed on before the Act was enacted (1 July 2007) or an agreement was made for the entire personnel on the interaction between the group management and employees before 22 September 1996.

According to the Act, international co-operation within the group is to be negotiated using a negotiating body, if a minimum of 100 group employees from at least two countries or their representatives or the group management wish to negotiate on the matter. Arrangements subject to group co-operation are primarily implemented as negotiated agreements. If an agreement cannot be reached, the minimum legal requirements are applied.

Works Council

If an agreement cannot be reached in the negotiating body within three years of starting negotiations or if central administration has not started negotiations within three months of receiving the request for negotiations or if so agreed in the negotiating body, the group is to form a Works Council consisting of personnel representatives.

Group management must present the Works Council a comprehensive report of the financial position of the group annually. In addition, material changes affecting personnel in more than one country and stated in the Act are to be provided.

Compliance to the provisions of co-operation within groups is monitored by the co-operation ombudsman and the national labour market organisations that have jointly concluded the national collective agreement comprising the regulations that the undertaking’s employment relationships must comply with.

If an undertaking fails to comply with the provisions on group co-operation or demonstrates significant negligence in informing representatives of personnel groups, sanctions may be imposed for violating the co-operation obligation. The co-operation ombudsman may also forward violations to the police for investigation.

Further information: cooperation ombudsman