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JHL readies itself for Autumn collective bargaining

Most of JHL’s collective agreements are set to expire in January 2018. The Union is now preparing for the next round of collective bargaining by seeking members' opinions and discussing goals for forthcoming negotiations.

JHL, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors has some 60 collective agreements which cover various sectors and companies.

The Union will hold ten regional meetings for its members in October. This will afford members the opportunity to voice their views and opinions on what they see as important in the upcoming round of collective bargaining.

The Union will also send out focused questionnaires on collective bargaining issues to those active in the Union i.e. shop stewards or members of the board of the local chapters. The Union promises to examine carefully all initiatives coming from local chapters.

JHL expects to outline its goals for negotiations in the near future. It is not only a matter of the percentage of the pay rise, but very much about other parts in the text of the collective agreements.

The text part of agreements is important, as therein lies the possibility to influence and affect the quality of working life. Issues like the holiday bonus, overtime pay and working hours are an essential part of the text of any collective agreement.

No national frame agreement

This time around there is no national level frame agreement on pay rises and other major issues, as has often been the case in Finland. The negotiations are being held at union level.

JHL is, however, in its preparations for this Autumn’s negotiation round, working alongside the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK, of which JHL is a member. SAK and its member unions plan to set some common goals which could be included in the union level agreements.

The actual collective bargaining negotiations with employers associations begins later in the Autumn. Usually, in the beginning the progress is slow, with the pace turning more intense as the dead-line approaches. The last two weeks of negotiations are traditionally the ‘busiest’ time for those participating in negotiations.

In some sectors JHL is the only union in the negotiations, in some other sectors it sits at the negotiation table together with other unions.

If there is no positive result from negotiations and once the existing collective agreements expire, this opens up the possibility of industrial action, like strikes or lock-outs. These are not allowed when an agreement is in effect.

Heikki Jokinen