Negotiations for a comprehensive income policy agreement ended on Tuesday after failure to reach agreement on pay rises. The two employer confederations (Confederation of Finnish Industries EK and Local Government Employers KT) offered 2.4 per cent for the first 13 months and 1.9 per cent for the following 12 months.
The union confederations SAK and STTK turned down the proposal as too low. The third union confederation Akava would have liked to continue the bargaining process and wait and see what kind of tax cuts Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen would promise to smoothen the path towards a confederation level agreement.
After SAK's and STTK's rejection EK's Director General Mikko Pukkinen stated that EK will not make any new offer and that the confederation level negotiations are now over. In practice, this means that collective bargaining will go on between the sector-based labour market parties i.e. between individual trade unions and the employer organizations in various industries.
And indeed this has been the bargaining model in recent years. The expiry dates of hundreds of collective agreement vary. Just now the most important bargaining is taking place in the technology industry. In that particular sector agreements covering some 250,000 wage and salaried employees expired on 30 September, and on Tuesday unions warned of strike action against 44 companies, covering 32,000 wage and salaried employees. An overtime ban for the whole technology industry has been in force since Tuesday afternoon.
The collapse of the confederation level negotiations means that the common understanding on the so called qualitative issues will not lead to any concrete changes. According to Akava, the negotiators had agreed on small improvements in paternal leave and unemployment compensation. Agreement on improvements in regards to regulations on temporary employment and agency labour had also been reached, Akava adds.
"The pay rises and the qualitative issues did not constitute a satisfying entirety", was the way STTK's President Mikko Mäenpää summed things up.
SAK's board came to similar conclusions. The quality package included several good measures but with the low level of pay on offer the employers' proposal could not be accepted, SAK said in its brief statement.