Representativeness of trade unions and employer associations in the sea fisheries sector - Finland

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Employee representation,
  • Social partners,
  • Published on: 06 Marzec 2012



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Country:
Finland
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The sea fisheries sector in Finland is very small. Those who work in it are mostly self-employed. In 2009 there were only 116 full-time employees. There is no trade union or employer association in the sector, and so IR activity is almost non-existent. The only interest organisation is the Finland’s Fisheries’ League (SAKL) which represents professional fishermen who are mostly self-employed or have only one or two employees. The collective agreement of the Finnish Seamen’s Union covers employees.

Sectoral properties

Economic background

The sea fisheries sector is very small. According to Statistics Finland, the aggregate employment was 172 in 1999 and 364 in 2009. There are more self-employed people than employees. In 2009, the total number of self-employed was 258, with a total number of 116 employees. Both groups are strongly male-dominated. The number of companies in 1999 and 2009 was high (compared to the aggregate number of employment), because there were some registered companies which were not actually trading. In 2009, the total value of sea fishing was €24 million.

Development of employment

Table 1: Sectoral properties
  1999 2009
Number of companies in the sector

442

303

Source of company data

Statistics Finland

Statistics Finland

Aggregate employment

172

364

Male employment

145

321

Female employment

27

43

Share of sectoral employment in %

0

0

Source of employment figures

Statistics Finland

Statistics Finland

Aggregate employees

117

116

Male employees

94

92

Female employees

23

14

Share of sectoral employees in %

0

0

2. The sector’s trade unions and employer associations

This section includes the following trade unions and employer associations:

(i) trade unions which are party to sector-related collective bargaining (In line with the conceptual remarks outlined in the background information included in the accompanying excel spreadsheet, we understand sector-related collective bargaining as any kind of collective bargaining within the sector, i.e. single-employer bargaining as well as multi-employer bargaining. For the definition of single- and multi-employer bargaining, see 4.2)

(ii) trade unions which are a sector-related member of the sector-related European Union Federation (i.e. ETF – European Transport Workers’ Federation)

(iii) employer associations which are a party to sector-related collective bargaining

(iv) employer associations (business associations) which are a sector-related member of the sector-related European Employer/Business Federations (i.e. EUROPECHE and COGECA – General Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives in the European Union)

2a Overview of the industrial relations landscape in the sector

Please include a brief overview of the IR landscape in the sector (3-5 sentences) – summarising the most important features of industrial relations structures in the sector (based on the fact sheets – but without going into detail.)

Please also report here, whether the crisis had an impact on the sector’s relevant social partner organisations (e.g. mergers, emergence of new interest organisations, impact on membership structure, important social partner activities/achievements in the sector during the crisis etc.).

The IR activity in the sector is almost non-existent. Only one interest organisation is operating in the sector. Finland’s Fisheries’ League (SAKL) represents professional fishermen that are mostly self-employed or have only one or few workers. SAKL is a national body, which also acts as a watchdog and expert concerning fishing related matters.

2b Data on the trade unions

There is no trade union in the sector. The only organisation is Finland’s Fisheries League (SAKL) an interest organisation established in 1980. There are around 300 members, and a great majority of them are self-employed.. SAKL estimates that there are around 700 sea fisheries, but the majority of them are part-time, earning 10–30% of their annual income from sea fishing.

2c Data on the employer associations

There is no actual employer association in the sector, but a voluntary association representing both employers and employees. . See the answer 2b.

3. Inter-associational relationships

3a Inter-union relationships

3a.1 Please list all trade unions covered by this study whose domains overlap.

Not applicable

3a.2 Do rivalries and competition exist among the trade unions, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?

Not applicable

3a.3 If yes, are certain trade unions excluded from these rights?

Not applicable

3b Inter-employer association relationships

3b.1 Please list all employer associations covered by this study whose domains overlap.

Not applicable

3b.2 Do rivalries and competition exist among the employer associations, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?

Not applicable

3b.3 If yes, are certain employer associations excluded from these rights?

Not applicable

3b.4 Are there large companies or employer associations which refuse to recognise the trade unions and refuse to enter collective bargaining?

Not applicable

4. The system of collective bargaining

4.1. Estimate the sector’s rate of collective bargaining coverage (i.e. the ratio of the number of employees covered by any kind of collective agreement to the total number of employees in the sector).

The Seamen’s working time legislation is applied on sea fishing vessels when they are in the fishing area.

The Finnish Parliament didn’t accept the ILO’s general agreements (numbers 188 and 199) approved on the 14 June 2007 in Geneva, concerning work in the fishing area, but this will be considered in future legislative work.

In the sea fisheries sector, the collective agreement of the Finnish Seamen’s Union has been applied to the employees.

4.2. Estimate the relative importance of multi-employer agreements and of single-employer agreements as a percentage of the total number of employees covered. (Multi-employer bargaining is defined as being conducted by an employer association on behalf of the employer side. In the case of single-employer bargaining, it is the company or its subunit(s) which is the party to the agreement. This includes the cases where two or more companies jointly negotiate an agreement.)

According to SAKL, the collective agreement of the Cargoship Association and the Finnish Seamen’s Union (SM-U) is applied to the employees (116 in 2009).

4.2.1. Is there a practice of extending multi-employer agreements to employers who are not affiliated to the signatory employer associations?

Yes, the collective agreements have a generally binding nature. Since 1971, a principle of general applicability of collective agreements has been in effect in Finland. According to this principle, employers that are unorganised in terms of collective bargaining also have to comply with the national agreements that concern their field of economic activity. The generally binding nature of a collective agreement depends on various factors, especially the organising rate of the employers and employees in the sector concerned. Since 2001, a public authority (Commission of the Ministry of Labour) formally decides whether collective agreements are generally binding. The decision of this Commission may be appealed at the Labour Court, the decision of which is final.

The decision regarding the general validity is published in the Regulations Collection, maintained by the authorities, and agreements confirmed as generally binding are available free of charge on the internet in a list of generally binding collective agreements. An agreement is generally applicable if it can be considered representative of the field in question. The criteria for representativeness are evaluated based on statistics that measure the general applicability of collective agreements, the established practices of agreements in the field and the organisation rate of the negotiating parties. The aim of the system of general applicability to guarantee minimum conditions is also taken into consideration.

4.2.2. If there is a practice of extending collective agreements, is this practice pervasive or rather limited and exceptional?

Pervasive.

4.3. List all sector-related multi-employer wage agreements* valid in 2008 (or most recent data), including for each agreement information on the signatory parties and the purview of the agreement in terms of branches, types of employees and territory covered.

* Only wage agreements which are (re)negotiated on a reiterated basis.

Table 2: Sector-related multi employer wage agreements
Bargaining parties Purview of the sector-related multi-employer wage agreements
  Sectoral Type of employees Territorial
In the sea fisheries sector, the collective agreement of the Finnish Seamen’s Union (SMU) has been applied to the employees. The collective agreement of the Cargoship Association and the Finnish Seamen’s Union (SM-U) is applied in the sea fisheries sector.

Sea fisheries sector

Workers

National

4.4. List the sector’s four most important collective agreements (single-employer or multi-employer agreements) valid in 2008 (or most recent data), including for each agreement information on the signatory parties and the purview of the agreement in terms of branches, types of employees and territory covered. Importance is measured in terms of employees covered.

Table 3: Four most important agreements in terms of employees covered
Bargaining parties Purview of the agreements
  Sectoral Type of employees Territorial
In the sea fisheries sector, the collective agreement of the Finnish Seamen’s Union (SMU) has been applied to the employees. The collective agreement of the Cargoship Association and the Finnish Seamen’s Union (SM-U) is applied in the sea fisheries sector.

Sea fisheries sector

Workers

National

5. Formulation and implementation of sector-specific public policies

5.1. Are the sector’s employer associations and trade unions usually consulted by the authorities in sector-specific matters? If yes, which associations?

SAKL has been consulted by the authorities in the sector-specific matters.

5.2. Do tripartite bodies dealing with sector-specific issues exist? If yes, please indicate their domain of activity (for instance, health and safety, equal opportunities, labour market, social security and pensions etc.), their origin (agreement/statutory) and the interest organisations having representatives in them:

At the moment, there are no tripartite bodies but in 2007–2008 there was one, considering the implementation of the ILO’s general agreements (numbers 188 and 199) approved on 14 June 2007 in Geneva, concerning work in the fishing area.

No data supplied for table

6. Statutory regulations of representativeness

6a Statutory regulations of representativeness for trade unions

6a.1 In the case of the trade unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

In Finland, the central principles of collective bargaining have been recorded in the Collective Agreements Act:

The employer party may be one or more employers or a registered association of employers. The employee party must be a registered employee association. The term employer association refers to an association whose main purpose is to look after the employers’ interests in employment relationships. The term employee association, on the other hand, refers to an association whose main purpose is to look after the employees’ interests in employment relationships.

6a.2 In the case of the trade unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union must meet, so as to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy and to participate in tripartite bodies? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

No statutory regulations exist.

6a.3 Are elections for a certain representational body (e.g. works councils) established as criteria for trade union representativeness? If yes, please report the most recent electoral outcome for the sector.

No.

6b Statutory regulations of representativeness for employer organisations

6b.1 In the case of the employer organisations, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which an organisation must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

See the answer 6a.1.

6b.2 In the case of the employer organisations, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which an organisation must meet, so as to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy and to participate in tripartite bodies? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

No statutory regulations exist.

6b.3 Are elections for a certain representational body established as criteria for the representativeness of employer associations? If yes, please report the most recent outcome for the sector.

No.

7. Commentary

The sea fisheries sector in Finland is very small. There are no actual employer associations or trade unions in the sector, but there is an interest organisation, Finland’s Fisheries’ League (SAKL) which represents professional fishermen who are mostly self-employed or have only one or two workers.

Pertti Jokivuori, University of Jyväskylä

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