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JHL: Municipal sector’s new collective agreement solution is paving the way for equal pay

Trade Union JHL is happy with the new municipal collective agreement and five-year pay regime that were achieved last June. An agreement has also been reached on the health and social services sector agreement. A five-year pay regime is also a part of that entirety. During this autumn, the agreement parties will negotiate on targeting the first arrangement instalment exceeding the general line.

– It’s a good thing that Public Sector Union JAU and Juko were able to negotiate pay raises and five-year pay regimes for all employees in the municipal sector and the upcoming wellbeing services counties. The raises negotiated by JAU and Juko will be paid to all employees, also to nurses, working in the health and social services sector and in municipalities, JHL President Päivi Niemi-Laine states.

The new municipal agreement will greatly increase local agreement, seeing as the pay regime includes a significant amount of money that can be agreed on locally. The purpose of increasing local agreement is to solve problems related to workforce availability.

– All workplaces have their own challenges in terms of workforce availability. Some more, some less. That’s why it’s important that the new municipal sector agreement includes the money for a pay system reform. We can then start to create a new, encouraging pay system that takes into account the needs of various personnel groups. I’m glad we were able to negotiate the kind of a collective agreement for the municipal sector and health and social services sector that opens all possibilities for achieving better pay for the female-dominated sector. This is the collective agreement of the century, Niemi-Laine says.

The export-led labour market model has reached its end in Finland. It has not improved women’s pay equality in the labour market. Women’s difference in pay in relation to male-dominated sectors is still 16 per cent.

– Industry-specific pay settlements are today’s reality. That fact is reflected in the municipal sector’s pay settlement that genuinely aims to solve and improve the female-dominated sector’s pay equality, especially by local agreement. The role of industry-specific solutions will become more pronounced because public-sector problems, such as workforce availability, must be solved locally.

President of Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL, Päivi Niemi-Laine, is happy with the fact that the employee party has initiated a shared discussion on the future of the labour market system.

– JHL will not commit itself to any ready-made model. We require that all sectors and industries together consider the possibility of a new labour market system.

– According to us, there’s plenty of time to build a new model, seeing as the labour market model is going through changes during autumn 2022.

– As agreement becomes fragmented and moves to corporate level, its fulfilment will be more difficult than before. The role of industry-specific pay settlements will become more pronounced because problems such as workforce availability must be solved locally.

Niemi-Laine emphasises that JHL must be one of the parties at the table where the new labour market system is being built.

– The union is not ready to outsource the approval of negotiation goals or negotiation results to other labour market actors. Everyone must be involved in building a shared protection of interests.

The export-led model has not promoted pay equality, JHL President states.

– The export-led pay model of Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) is not a suitable labour market model of the future, unless it creates prerequisites for improving purchasing power, promoting equality and getting rid of low pay. Furthermore, employers’ decision to release themselves from sector-specific collective agreements has undermined the export-led labour market model.

– A ready-built model constructed by a few large organisations is not suitable for all industries. It has to be possible to solve industry-specific problems in the labour market. The new municipal agreement and especially the pay regime open new possibilities for this.

More information: Päivi Niemi-Laine 040 702 4772