Impact of the working time directive on collective bargaining in the road transport sector — Finland

  • Observatory: EurWORK
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  • Published on: 18 Δεκέμβριος 2007



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This is the Finnish contribution to the Comparative analytical report on the Impact of the working time directive for the road transport sector on collective bargaining

The types of employers of the road transport sector can be categorised into three groups: 1) public transport companies, 2) chartered bus companies and 3) truck and tanker companies. There are two employers’ interest organisations in the road transport sector: the EK-affiliated Employers’ Confederation of Road Transport (Autoliikenteen Työnantajaliitto, ALT) and the Finnish Transport and Logistics (Suomen Kuljetus ja Logistiikka, SKAL) is an industrial political spcial-interest group. The SAK-affiliated Finnish Transport Workers' Union (Auto- ja Kuljetusalan Työntekijäliitto, AKT) is a trade union representing about 51,000 professionals working in the field of transportation. Three sectoral collective agreements have been entered in the sector.

Breaks and rest periods in the collective agreements (of truck driving and bus driving) have been based on Regulation 3821/85/EC which is a base for the Directive. The Directive 2002/15/EC is mentioned in the signatory memorandum of the collective agreements of truck driving and bus driving agreements consummated between ALT and AKT: "In accordance with to the Article 8 in the Directive 2002/15/EY regulating working hours of mobile workers, parties notice that the articles 4 and 7 of the Directive will not be applied to the scope of collective agreements of truck driving,, bus driving staff and bus station staff."

The question whether or not the self-employed drivers should be covered by national implementing legislation is a crucial issue in Finland. Finland (the government) has sharply opposed the extension and the strongest criticisms are coming from SKAL. According to SKAL, the extension will produce unreasonable restrictions to self-employed drivers, bankruptcies and will also form a notable bar to entrepreneurship in the future.

Background

Working time for mobile workers in the road transport sector is covered by Directive on working time in the road transport sector

(Directive 2002/15/EC)

This Directive establishes minimum requirements in relation to the organisation of working time in order to improve the health and safety protection of persons performing mobile road transport activities and to improve road safety and align conditions of competition.. Member states were requested to implement this Directive by 23 March 2005. However, some countries have yet to transpose it.

The Directive provides a definition of the types of activities that should be included in the calculation of working time. These are: driving; loading and unloading; assisting passengers boarding and disembarking from the vehicle; cleaning and technical maintenance; and all other work intended to ensure the safety of the vehicle. It also covers the times during which a worker cannot dispose freely of their time and are required to be at their workstation. The Directive also regulates maximum weekly working time, breaks, rest periods and night work.

Unlike the working time Directive, the Directive governing working time in road transport does not allow any opt-out. This means that companies operating in this sector need to ensure that the working time of their workforce complies with the Directive. However, under Article 8 of the Directive, derogations can be made from the provisions on maximum working time and night work, for objective or technical reasons or reasons concerning the organisation of work, through collective agreements, agreements between the social partners, or by laws, regulations or administrative provisions, provided there is consultation of the representatives of the employers and workers concerned and efforts are made to encourage all relevant forms of social dialogue.

At present, the Directive does not apply to self-employed drivers. As it states, the European Commission will undertake a review of the situation after four years of operation. Therefore, at the latest by 23 March 2007, the European Commission will issue a report to the European Parliament and the Council analysing the consequences of the exclusion of self-employed drivers in areas such as road safety, conditions of competition, the structure of the profession and a range of social aspects. On the basis of this report, the Commission will then decide whether or not to apply the Directive to self-employed drivers from 23 March 2009.

The study

The purpose of this study is to assess the impact that Directive 2002/15/EC has had on collective bargaining in this sector in individual EU countries.

This study will examine collective bargaining and the regulation of working time in the road transport sector in individual European countries, looking at issues such as the organisation of working time, breaks, rest periods, working hours, health and safety, and the status of self-employed drivers. It will also look at whether member states have taken advantage of the derogation options, contained in the Directive, in the case of maximum working time and night work.

1. Details of the road transport sector in your country

Please provide some basic details about the road transport sector in your country. Information should include:

  • the structure of the mobile workforce in the sector, including size, type of employee, proportion of self-employed workers (see also below)

In Finland the structure of mobile workforce is the following:

  • about 30,000 employed truck drivers
  • about 10,000 bus drivers
  • about 1,000 tank truck drivers
  • about 2,000 bus drivers in the municipalities (Helsinki, Tampere and Turku)
  • about 7,400 self-self employed drivers/entrepreuners of whom about half has also hired work force
  • the types of employers operating in the sector

The types of employers can be categorised into three groups: 1) public transport companies, 2) chartered bus companies and 3) truck and tanker companies

There are two employers’ interest organisations in the road transport sector. The EK-affiliated Employers’ Confederation of Road Transport (Autoliikenteen Työnantajaliitto, ALT) has about 1,000 member companies which are employing about 30,000 workers. Three-quarters of companies has less than 10 employees (a number of companies with more than 150 employees is 32 in 2007). The Finnish Transport and Logistics (Suomen Kuljetus ja Logistiikka, SKAL) is an industrial political spcial-interest (group) association, which includes 7,400 transport entrepreneurs and self-employer drivers.

2. Collective bargaining in the road transport sector

Please provide information on collective bargaining in your sector, including:

  • details of the social partners in this sector – trade unions and employer bodies, name, field of intervention (all the sector/specific part of the sector// all the workers in the sector/ part of them…)

The SAK-affiliated Finnish Transport Workers' Union (Auto- ja Kuljetusalan Työntekijäliitto, AKT) is a trade union representing about 51,000 professionals working in the field of transportation. The union is representing all the workers in the sector (including car-, loading-, transportation- and other businesses connected to these ones, such as garage, oil products, terminal, tourism, forwarding, and traffic instruction).

The EK-affiliated Employers’ Confederation of Road Transport (Autoliikenteen Työnantajaliitto, ALT) has about 1,000 member companies which are employing about 30,000 workers.

  • whether there are collective agreements.

There are three collective agreements concerning the road transport sector. ALT and AKT have conducted two collective agreements: the collective agreement of truck driver and the collective agreement of bus drivers (both in 13.3.2006 – 31.1. 2008). The collective agreement of oil and tank drivers (1.3.2005 – 31.1.2008) has been consummated between AKT and the Oil Product Association (Öljytuote ry) and the Association of Road Tanker Carriers (Suomen Säiliöautoliitto ry). Öljytuote is an employer organisation of the oil products and a cooperation organisation of the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland (Kemianteollisuus). Suomen Säiliöautoliitto is an SKAL-affiliated association with 115 transport companies.

If so, could you specify whether it is a sectoral one or whether there are agreements that are signed in significant companies? What proportion of the sector do they cover?

All three collective agreements are sectoral covering truck driving, bus driving and tank truck driving.

If there are agreements, how often are they renewed? What are the subjects covered : definition of working time

  • working hours
  • breaks
  • rest periods
  • controls and checks on drivers

The renewal of collective agreements is essentially following the cycle of the national incomes policy accords. The “normal” duration of the agreements is about two years. Collective agreements have definitions of working hours, breaks and rest periods, but not definition of controls and checks on drivers. Controls and checks on drivers are defined just through the Finnish legislations.

3. Implementation of the Directive 2002/15/EC in your country

Has your country implemented this Directive?

Yes. The implementation has been released through the valid working time law and the nature of general binding of the collective agreements. In Finland, the general working time law has been applied to the mobile workers since 1956.

a) If so, please give details of the implementing legislation or collective agreement, and when it came into force.

If not, please give details of any debate about implementation, plus any likely implementation date.

Breaks and rest periods in the collective agreements (of truck driving and bus driving) have been based on Regulation 3821/85/EC which is a base for the Directive. Regulations concerning breaks and rest periods are in accordance with the regulations of the Directive. These (two) collective agreements came into force on 13 March 2006.

b) If your country has implemented the Directive, has implementation been effected by means of specific terms in collective agreements or brought new topics onto the collective bargaining agenda in areas such as health and safety, the organisation of working time, working hours and working conditions or onto these areas in general?

The implementation has been effected by means of terms in collective agreements.

c) The Directive allows for derogations to be made from the provisions on maximum working time and night work, for objective or technical reasons or reasons concerning the organisation of work, through “collective agreements, agreements between the social partners, or by laws, regulations or administrative provisions, provided there is consultation of the representatives of the employers and workers concerned and efforts are made to encourage all relevant forms of social dialogue”.

Derogations allowed by the Directive 2002/15/EC are mentioned in the memorandum annexed tothe collective agreements on truck driving and bus driving signed between ALT and AKT: "In accordance with the Article 8 in the Directive 2002/15/EY regulating working hours of mobile workers, parties notice that the articles 4 and 7 of the Directive will not be applied to the scope of collective agreements of truck driving,, bus driving staff and bus station staff."

Maximum working time

Are there any laws or collective agreements in place that allow derogations from the maximum working week of 48 hours, extendable to 60 hours if the average of 48 hours a week is not exceeded over four months? If so, please give details and, if available, statistics on how many workers and companies covered.

Yes, there is. See the previous answer. These two collective agreements allow derogations from the maximum working week of 48 hours. This derogation (of Article 4) covers generally the whole road transport sector. However, the regular working time is 80 hours in period of two weeks. But theoretically it is possible to have about 70 working hours in a week.

Night work

Are there any laws or collective agreements in place that allow derogations from the maximum working day of 10 hours in a 24-hour period if night work is performed? If so, please give details and, if available, statistics on how many workers and companies covered.

The collective agreements of truck driving and bus driving allow derogations from the maximum working day of 10 hours in a 24-hour period if night work is performed. This derogation (from Article 7) covers also generally the whole road transport sector.

According to AKT, the main reason for the current derogations concerning both maximum working week and night work is the fact that if the regulations of the Directive have been implemented into the collective agreements as it is, the self-employed drivers could have advantage over the employers that are employing and are in the scope of the Directive. This is the main reason why AKT has accepted the derogations.

4. Specific issues

a) What are the main problems in this sector in your country?

Are there requests from interested parties (employees, trade unions, employer bodies, the government) about regulation on any of the following:

  • health and safety
  • working conditions
  • long working hours
  • controls and checks on drivers

Health and safety and working conditions are on the agenda of both employers’ organisations ALT and SKAL and trade union AKT. Both parties recognise that particularly in East- and Northern-Finland the lack of decent rest places is a problem. Finland is sparsely inhabited and distances are long, thus, the organisation of decent network of rest places is a challenge. Another problem related to working conditions is the fact that during night-time Helsinki is often full of trucks and there is a lack of room, because the harbor areas can not be used as before.

The control of long working hours and generally controls and checks on drivers is also a duty of employer organisation. Anyway, according to AKT, some companies do not follow the regulations of working hours very carefully, and there are clear shortcomings of working hours.

According to AKT, the controls and checks on drivers is depending too much on the individual industrial safety districts. By the union, the authorities are not using all the possibilities that the legislation permits. Recently, the recourse of industrial safety inspection has been diminished, and AKT is worried particularly about the exiguity of the on the road control. Both AKT and ALT consider that the current system pf control and checks on drivers is weak.

b) Self-employed drivers

Please give details of the kind of debate that is being held in your country on this issue. For example, what are the views of the government and the social partners on whether or not self-employed drivers should be covered by national implementing legislation?

The question if the self-employed drivers should be covered by national implementing legislation is a real hot issue in Finland. Finland (the government) has sharply opposed the extension and the strongest criticisms are coming from SKAL. According to SKAL, the extension will produce unreasonable restrictions to self-employed drivers, bankruptcies and will also form a notable bar to entrepreneurship. Regulations will be lead to increased control which will bring along company mergers, because small entrepreneurs are not capable to take care of all legislative obligations. Both the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Labour consider that the opt-out possibility (Article 8) in very important to Finland.

AKT is supporting that self-employed drivers should also be covered by national implementing legislation. According to AKT, the situation where certain parts of employers are covered by the implementing legislation and a part is not, will contort the competition. AKT considers that the Directive is regulating just working time related to driving (driving, loading and unloading, maintenance etc.), but does not regulate the time that is used for other (paper)work in entrepreneurship.

The Ministry of Labour emphasizes that working hours of entrepreneurs should be kept separately from the general working hours legislation. The Ministry of Labour also considers the Article 4b of the Directive (“working time for different employers is the sum of the working hours”) as problematic, in particular if these kinds of regulations will extend outside the transport sector. According to the Ministry, these kinds of regulations could restrict the contracts of an employee and thereby regulate how many hours an employee can work during the week (for instance employee’s right to have a secondary occupation).

c) Trans-border drivers

Are trans-border drivers concerned by your country regulation in the road transport sector? If so, please specify how. For example, which jurisdiction covers drivers who cross your country on their way to other countries? Is this an issue for debate in your country?

Trans-border drivers follow the AETR agreement. According to the Finnish Road Traffic Act (267/1981) Chapter 6a, 92 b § working hours and rest periods, using vehicle running recorder and other security legislation are in force in accordance with Council Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85, (EC) NO 561/2006, (EEC) No 3821/85 and AETR (66/1999).

Regulations covering drivers of motor vehicles are in Working Time Law (605/1996) in 8 § (working hours), in 28 § subsection 3 (rest periods), in 30 § (daily rest periods), and 37 a § (personal driver's log).

Control is directed to Finnish and foreign vehicles and their drivers. The acts concern self-employed drivers too.

The problems of the heavy road transport in the Finland-Russia border is continuously in the media. More than 850,000 trucks crossed Finland’s eastern border with the Russian Federation in 2005, and about 80 per cent of which were licensed in the Russian Federation. Sometimes the queue of vehicles in Vaalimaa checkpoint can be about 40 km long, and drivers have to spend a lot of time in checking.

d) Other issues

Are there any other issues of importance in your country that have not been covered above?

The issue of night work (driving at nights) is a quite complex and many-sided problem in Finland. Now the trucks are driving at nights to a great extend, and if this traffic will be transferred from nights to daytime, it will weaken the overall traffic safety.

The safety of heavy road transport is a topical issue in Finland. The most severe road accident (a truck and a bus) took place in 2004 in Central Finland (Konginkangas). After that accident a special steering group for safety research in heavy road transport (so-called RATTU group) was appointed to assess the traffic safety situation and needs for further research in the field of heavy transport. The Konginkangas road disaster can basically be categorised into the most common type of fatal traffic accidents that took place in the most common traffic environment, i.e. a head-on collision on a main road. Nearly three out of four traffic fatalities occur on public roads outside urban areas. More than half of these occur on main roads with one carriageway, of which half are head-on collisions. With regard to the need for research and development the Steering Group stated that there is need for additional studies in all the most important areas affecting safety in heavy road transport (driver, vehicle, traffic environment). The group also proposed that research be conducted on transport chain responsibilities and the use of economic steering methods in traffic safety work.

The other important issue of the Finnish road transport sector is that there is already now difficulties to have enough skilled workers, and according to ALT, the labour shortage is obvious in the near future. ALT estimates that the direct need of drivers is about 3,000 in truck driving and 700-800 in bus driving in the very near future.

5. Views of the national centre

It is particularly important that each NC gives its own comments on the issues covered by this study. Please provide any additional information that you consider important to better understand the current situation and recent developments in the area of working time in your country’s road transport sector.

The question of whether or not to apply the Directive to self-employed drivers is very essential and crucial to Finnish entrepreneurs. Employers’ organisations and the government are clearly against the extension.

Pertti Jokivuori, Statistics Finland

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