Frequently asked questions about strike action

Will I be paid a salary or strike benefit during a strike? Do I have to notify my supervisor about participating in a strike? Must I tell my supervisor about my union membership? This page has answers to these and many other strike-related questions.

Visit JHL’s “Industrial action” page to learn how to prepare for a strike.

Check the same page for instructions on what to do during a strike and after it.

A political strike is a strike declared by the trade union. Its primary goal is not to affect collective agreements or employers, but rather the purpose is to pursue political or societal goals.

Participation in a political strike is an acceptable reason for absence, and the employer cannot impose measures on the employees for their participation. The #SeriousGrounds strikes are political strikes. They oppose the Government Programme entries that will bring misery to working life and decrease unemployment security and employees’ income. Public servants cannot take part in political strikes. More information about the weakenings in the Government Programme

No salary is paid for the strike period. However, pay and other receivables arising from the employment relationship that have fallen due will be paid during the strike on the normal salary payment dates. Employees are also not entitled to fringe benefits offered by the employer, such as lunch vouchers, for the strike days.

The strike benefit is paid only to union members who have paid their membership fees. If the strike lasts, say, one week (for example from Monday to Sunday or from Tuesday to Monday), the strike benefit will be paid for five days.

A condition for the payment is that you abide by the decisions and instructions issued by the union. The Executive Committee shall decide on the amount of the strike benefit. You can apply for it within 2 months from the end of the strike.

For more information about strike benefit payment, visit the Strikes and other industrial actions page.

Will I be paid a strike benefit if I join JHL?

You will be paid a strike benefit if you joined the union before the strike started. Use the electronic membership form so that we can see your exact joining date. At least the first membership fee must be paid before the strike benefit can be paid. When your membership has been confirmed, you will get instructions on paying the membership fee.

If you don’t normally do the work in question, you should also not do it during a strike. Notify your supervisor that you don’t do work subject to a strike action. If your supervisor exerts pressure on you, contact your shop steward or regional office.

Don’t do work subject to a strike action!

Also see the guidelines of your trade union JHL: Guidelines in case of another union’s industrial action

As a general rule, all JHL members in the selected workplace will participate in the strike. The decision is a union decision (= made by the union’s administration) and it is binding on the members. Employees do not need to separately inform their supervisors that they will participate in the strike. Employees have a legal right to participate in the strike.

It is not permitted for the employer to exert pressure on employees who participate in industrial action organised by the union. All employer countermeasures must be warded off and false rumours refuted, and members must immediately inform a shop steward or branch official about all countermeasures. They will in turn notify the union’s regional office.

For more information, contact the shop steward or the regional office.

No, you are not obligated to tell your supervisor whether you are a union member or not.

Union membership is particularly sensitive personal information. That is why membership information is protected with special care by the General Data Protection Regulation.

If you observe a data protection violation in your workplace, report it immediately to the regional office.

All employees will not necessarily be on strike, but they will also not be carrying out strikers’ work tasks.

The union’s industrial action notice will contain information on whom the strike concerns.

It is important that those JHL members who are not on strike will only perform their own work tasks and not the tasks of those on strike.

Those who are working shall refuse to perform any of the tasks of those on strike, for example by agreeing to change their tasks or work shifts.

Do not perform work that is within the scope of the strike!

JHL determines the strike limits. The union decides the work tasks that the strike applies to, regardless of who performs them. As a rule, the occupational safety and health representatives that the strike limits apply to participate in the strike.

When determining the strike limits, one should however consider that the occupational safety and health representative represents all the employees of their workplace, also non-unionised ones. A JHL member working as the occupational safety and health representative of their workplace also represents the co-workers who are not JHL members. During a strike, some of the employees represented by the representative are on strike, some are not. Because of the nature of occupational safety and health cooperation, it would be important to ensure if possible, also during a strike, that the employees are represented in the cooperation.

Most occupational safety and health representatives manage their position of responsibility alongside their own job commitments in such a way that some of their working hours fall under a so-called exemption period. During the exemption period, the occupational safety and health representative will manage their cooperation duties related to occupational safety and health. During the rest of their working hours, the occupational safety and health representative carries out tasks in accordance with their employment contract.

If the strike applies to the occupational safety and health representative’s own work tasks, the representative, too, is on strike. The deputy representative will then carry out necessary cooperation duties related to occupational safety and health during the strike. If all deputy representatives belong to the trade union that the strike applies to, and the strike also applies to their work tasks, they will all be on strike.

In cases like this, workplaces should agree on the measures for managing employee representation in occupational safety and health cooperation in necessary situations that arise during the strike (such as participation in occupational safety and health inspection).

Full-time occupational safety and health representatives, i.e. those who have been fully exempted from work, only engage in occupational safety and health cooperation. A full-time occupational safety and health representative will manage their position of responsibility during an industrial action.

It is advisable to belong to the union that negotiates the collective agreement for your sector.

If you work in JHL’s sub-sector which is on strike and you are a member of an SAK-affiliated union, you will receive the strike benefit.

Check if your union is an SAK-affiliated union.

When the industrial action has been decided by JHL, the members of other SAK-affiliated unions apply for their strike benefit from JHL.

Once a strike warning has been issued, annual holidays cannot be scheduled for the strike period. A holiday cannot be scheduled to start during a strike that has already begun.

If your annual holiday began before the strike, it will continue in spite of the strike, i.e. you will be on an annual holiday and not on strike. The employer has to pay the salary as usual for the duration of the holiday.

If the strike continues after your holiday ends, you will have to notify the employer that you are returning from the holiday and going on strike – otherwise your absence may be interpreted as a so-called unauthorised absence. It is best to submit the notice in writing.

Annual holidays taken during the strike are equated with workdays when future annual holidays are calculated, i.e. annual holidays are accrued during this time.

If the strike begins before a confirmed annual holiday begins, the annual holiday will be automatically cancelled. The employer is obligated to grant the cancelled annual holiday at a later time. If the annual holiday continues after the strike ends, the employee will stay on the annual holiday.

Whether an employee is on strike or holiday does not depend on when the holiday was confirmed. The industrial action notice does not determine this either. What is decisive is which one actually begins first: the strike or the holiday. This is called a chronological priority principle.

The annual holiday of a public servant may be postponed or, if the holiday has already begun, interrupted, in case postponing or interrupting it is necessary for cogent reasons related to the use of public authority, or if it is necessary in order to carry out work tasks related to health or safety. A strike does not meet the definition of a cogent reason for postponing one’s annual holiday. However, a need for protection work arising from the strike may meet this definition.

If your sick leave has started before the start of the strike, your right to a sick pay is determined by the collective agreement. Submit your medical certificate concerning the sick leave to the employer before the strike begins.

If the strike has begun before you fell ill, you are not entitled to sick pay. Apply for daily sickness allowance from Kela.

If your sick leave continues after the strike has ended, your right to sick pay is determined by the collective agreement.

An employee who falls ill when on strike should immediately obtain a medical certificate.

No, it does not, if you are not in an employment relationship with the organisation offering the traineeship.

Bear in mind that your traineeship may not be used to break the strike.

You cannot fill in if there are shortages in personnel resources or work performance caused by industrial action. A student’s responsibility differs from an employee’s responsibility. For example, you cannot be left to work alone in a shift.

Contact your shop steward or the regional office to make sure. The union informs separately whether stand-by work falls within the industrial action.

Contact the regional office. You have no obligation or right to perform work covered by a strike.

Yes, you can, if the job is not covered by the industrial action.

You should remember, however, that a ban on overtime and/or shift swaps also applies to stand-in jobs.

If the strike interrupts the work trial briefly, it will not affect the benefits paid by Keva. If the work trial is interrupted for a month or a longer period, the payment of benefits will be discontinued.

For more information, visit Keva’s website.

If a strike is based on a union decision, it is binding on the members. The Criminal Code of Finland prohibits work discrimination, which means that employees must not be placed in an unequal position due to their participation in a strike.

Contact your shop steward if your employer threatens you.

Each threat will be taken seriously and investigated. Do not remain alone in the situation.

JHL’s Executive Committee may also decide on an embargo or a boycott against a company that recruits temporary/external workforce for the duration of a strike, pressures employees to come to work during the strike, changes shifts that have been announced earlier due to a strike or threatens to place employees in an unequal position depending on whether they participate in the strike or not.

An employee’s participation in industrial action (strike) based on a union decision does not entitle the employer to terminate or dismiss the employment contract or to end the employment contract of an employee on a trial period or a fixed-term employee. It is also prohibited for the employer to discriminate against employees who participate in a strike when it comes to decisions on, for example, working hours, pay increases etc. (Criminal Code of Finland, chapter 47).

Of course not. Industrial action is always a matter between the union and the employer. The union is responsible for the situation that arises on behalf of its members in relation to the employer. If it is not possible to discuss the strike in an appropriate manner in your workplace, it is enough for you to say that the strike is the union’s decision. As a member, you have the obligation to abide by the decisions that have been made without it resulting in any consequences for you.

All inappropriate behaviour is to be condemned. Contact your shop steward or regional office if you experience threats.

You should absolutely join the union. Only union members are entitled to the union’s services also during a strike, and the strike benefit is only paid to members.

Join us!

Yes, you can.

Go to your workplace normally according to the shift roster and be available to your employer.

Do not perform work that is within the scope of the strike!

The obligation to perform protection work only applies to public servants. The employer must issue the order in writing.

If you have an employment contract and you are ordered to perform protection work, you may refuse to perform protection work. Contact your shop steward or if your workplace does not have one, your regional office.

Public servants can legally participate in industrial action taken on the basis of a decision of the union or association.

Public servants’ right to strike has been restricted, however. They are not allowed to take part in sympathy and demonstration strikes nor in bans on overtime and shift swaps. In addition, they do not have the right to participate in political strikes.

Public servants are under the obligation to perform protection work also during industrial actions. Protection work is work that is necessary to prevent the health or lives of citizens from being endangered or to protect assets that are specifically endangered due to the industrial action.

The National Dispute Impact Assessment Board assesses whether the announced industrial action will jeopardise society. If it does, the Board must in its decision exhort to cancel the industrial action altogether or to limit it as specified in the decision.

During industrial actions by other unions, public servants are obliged to fulfil their normal service obligation.

The industrial action notice rules out the tasks which, if left undone, could threaten life and/or health. After the industrial action notice is given, the shop stewards conduct local negotiations, if necessary.

If your family leave has started before the strike, you will be paid your salary for the duration of the family leave in accordance with the collective agreement.

If your family leave begins during the strike, apply for Kela’s daily allowance for those family leave days that intersect with the strike. No strike benefit is paid for the days in question.

Irrespective of when the industrial action takes place, statutory maternity and parental leaves are comparable to employment, also when accruing annual holiday.

If unemployment began before the strike, the strike will have no impact on the payment of the unemployment allowance. The strike will also have no impact on the payment of unemployment allowance in a lay-off situation if the lay-off notice has been issued before the strike warning and the lay-off begins before the strike begins.

A lockout is an industrial action by the employer. In a lockout, the employer denies employees’ access to the workplace and interrupts the payment of wages and salaries.

A picketer is a person monitoring that the strike is implemented.

Picketers’ task is to encourage all those wishing to perform work that is within the scope of the strike to leave the workplace. Picketers maintain order in front of the workplace on strike, distribute strike bulletins, and monitor employers’ actions.

Dependable and calm persons who do not lose their patience even in tough situations are selected as picketers. Picketers represent the union and are therefore also strikers. They do not have the right to enter the workplace or work areas or to use the employer’s equipment.

If you want to be a picketer, contact your shop steward or regional office.

The nature and area of responsibility of the strike committees always depend on the nature of the strike. Strike committees may be regional, local or company-specific. Strike committees are in charge of the strike in their respective areas of responsibility and take care of strike-related tasks.

A regional strike committee, for example, liaises with the shop stewards and contact persons in the locations on strike, among other things.

The only reliable sources of information are the trade union and the strike organisation. Follow the union’s communications through the website and social media channels.