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Press journalists’ new collective agreement replaces the 24 unpaid annual working hours with 7.5 hours of paid training

The press journalists' new collective agreement follows the general line of pay rises and ditching of the 24 unpaid extra working hours included in the old agreement.

On 19 February, the Council of the Union of Journalists in Finland UJF unanimously approved the settlement reached in negotiations with the employers’ Finnish Media Federation. They had already signalled acceptance of the deal some days earlier.

The issues at hand were similar to the other negotiations: pay rise level, what to do about the 24 annual extra unpaid working hours appended to the collective agreements under strong political pressure in 2016 by the then right-wing government, and other questions concerning working time.

Thus far the technology industry deal has become something of a yardstick for other agreements in its wake. And now, UJF has signed up to a more or less similar 28 months deal with a 3.3 per cent pay rise.

The widely detested unpaid working hours disappear. To compensate this there is a creative new possibility for the employers to arrange every year – at normal pay – a 7.5 hour training or development relevant to work.

During the Christmas week the employees will get one new extra free day. Should the employee choose, this could be converted into money.

“In all the new collective agreements, the Competitiveness Pact extra hours will be compensated for in some respect. For us, that means 7.5 hours of paid training included in the agreement,” said UJF president Hanne Aho on the Union web page. “Also, extending the agreement from 25 to 28 months helped bring it about.”

President Aho adds that the solution to making up for the disappearing unpaid hours by training is a good one. Several Union members have been stressing the need for training in their messages. “Now there is a splendid opportunity to do just that.”

The Union Council also accepted a collective agreement for publishing editors. This branch is dominated by women with an academic education but which invariably suffers low rates of pay.

UFJ expressed solidarity with those on the lowest incomes and made a deal that guarantees a 53 euro monthly pay rise for all in the first year and from May 2021 a pay rise of 1.4 per cent for all and 0.6 per cent in a way that is decided at company level.

The 31 month agreement will also replace the 24 unpaid working hours with 15 hours training on normal pay.

Heikki Jokinen

Read more:

Technology industry to get 3.3 per cent pay rise (06.01.2020)