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JHL team busy with scores of collective agreement negotiations

Negotiations on collective agreements are now underway in almost all sectors. JHL is currently involved in collective bargaining with the municipal, energy and private social services sectors among others.

JHL, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors is involved in 55 national level collective agreements which cover various sectors and companies. There are also some 40 separate collective agreements for various public agencies which need to be negotiated.

The Union has a negotiating team of 35 people to carry out this immense task. The team includes 21 Bargaining Officers, three Work Environment Officers, as well as a Statistics Officer, a Vocational Officer, a Head of Services, four secretaries and two Heads of Bargaining.

The team leader is the Union President Päivi Niemi-Laine and her deputy is the Chief Executive Officer Håkan Ekström.

One of the major collective agreements being negotiated now involves the private social service sector. It covers 70,000 employees, of whom 7,400 are JHL members. JHL is negotiating this agreement together with several other unions.

Minna Pirttijärvi, JHL Bargaining Officer writes in her blog on the JHL web pages about the Union’s goals for this agreement. She points out that in the private sector salaries are lower than for the same work in the public sector and holidays are shorter.

The amount of zero-hour contracts in the private social service sector is alarming, she says. At the same time the major private companies in social services are making major profits.

According to statistics gleaned from the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK wages in the private social service sector fell last year by 0.1 per cent. In all sectors where EK is working pay levels rose by one per cent.

JHL now wants to put a stop to this negative development and ensure incomes rise in this sector.

A trade union must have contingency plans should negotiations fail. And so this Autumn JHL has organised about ten training events on what to do in the event of a strike. Some 350 Union activists have participated in these events.

Heikki Jokinen