Riku Aalto, President of the Industrial Union, says that the views of the parties are now exceptionally far away from each other.
“The employers offered industrial workers less than what the National Conciliator proposed for the public sector”, he said. This is not enough to guarantee industrial workers' purchasing power.
According to the Industrial Union, employers used the municipal sector collective agreement as a reason for low pay rises. This deal includes an unusual clause.
The level of municipal sector pay rise in 2023 is 1.9 per cent. But should the unions in the export industry get better pay rises, the difference will be added to the agreed municipal pay.
For example: if the export industry unions can negotiate a 5 per cent pay rise for the year 2023, this means that municipal employees will get a 1.9 plus a 3.2 per cent pay rise. On top of that, they will get approximately a one per cent pay rise for five years, due to the special pay programme agreed.
“This was exactly what we were afraid of in the Industrial Union”, Aalto says. The employer will not raise pay because the same pay rise will be even higher for public sector employees.
Concerns over public sector pay rises do not belong to the industry negotiation table, Aalto stresses. “We are not going to settle for a smaller pay rise just because someone else is going to benefit from our agreement.”
“Finland's competitiveness is strong, company profits are healthy and in our competitor countries pay rises take inflation into account.”
As these agreements are now completely open, the Industrial Union is preparing for normal collective bargaining asking local branches to make proposals as to what should be included in any future negotiations.
Heikki Jokinen, Freelancer