Joint consultation, or cooperation between employers and employees, is prescribed either in the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings, in sectoral agreements between the central confederations or in sectoral agreements, depending on the industry.
- To further co-operation between the employer and the personnel and among members of personnel
- To provide personnel with the opportunity to influence matters relating to their work and workplace and
- To develop the operations of companies and corporations and their working conditions
Joint consultation aims to promote a positive atmosphere at work, enable change and increase the personnel’s readiness to accept change. These objectives are best achieved by continuous negotiation between the employees and the employer.
Joint consultation is an essential part of successful management. Providing information and communicating the objectives and achievements of joint consultation to the personnel is vitally important – before and after the cooperation procedure.
The purpose of joint consultation is to allow personnel to participate in decision-making before the matter is settled, that is, already at the preparatory stage. At this stage, it is still possible to discuss the grounds for and effects of the matter in question, and any alternatives there may be.
According to the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings and the joint consultation agreements, the employer must inform the personnel of issues such as the company’s development perspectives and economic situation and provide sufficient information to enable the matter to be dealt with. The Act and the central and sectoral agreements contain more detailed information on what additional matters are to be settled by means of the joint consultation procedure.
The parties to joint consultation are the employer and the personnel. Joint consultation can be either direct or representative.
Direct joint consultation
Issues about work and the work community may be discussed by the supervisors and personnel. Joint meetings are arranged at the workplace for this purpose. Direct joint consultation is also a part of daily routines, management and good supervisory work.
Representative joint consultation
Instead of direct communication, joint consultation may be carried out by a separately appointed cooperation body, to which the personnel elect their own representatives. Personnel representatives are usually shop stewards and occupational safety ombudsmen.