SAK and TT renew their basic agreement

In June 1997, the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) and the Confederation of Finnish Industry and Employers (TT) announced a renewal of their basic agreement, enabling wider decision-making on terms of employment at local and company level.

SAK and TT announced the renewal of their basic agreement on 6 June 1997. The new agreement permits SAK and TT's member organisations at industry level to agree on certain issues outside the auspices of the national agreement. The agreement also states that agreements on subcontracting and hired labour will include a clause whereby subcontractors or the company responsible for subcontracting commit themselves to complying with the relevant collective agreement as well as labour and social legislation. Furthermore, the new basic agreement includes a section on the notification of political strikes and sympathy strikes. The period of notification is four days.

According to the new basic agreement, local agreements on combining the duties of the chief shop steward and the safety representative can be concluded by the chief shop steward and the individual employer. The objective of the agreement is to: reduce overly specific agreements at central organisation level; simplify agreement practices; and transfer decision-making to individual unions and workplaces. The revision of the basic agreement was originally decided upon in the comprehensive incomes policy agreement of 1995. The agreements between SAK and TT on Holiday Pay (1990) and Protection Against Arbitrary Dismissal and Lay-offs (1991) will remain in force.

Lauri Ihalainen, the chair of SAK, commented on the agreement: "A significant current issue is the fact that the use of subcontractors and hired labour now rests more firmly with the relevant collective agreement at company level".

Tapani Kahri, the deputy managing director of TT, stated that the objective of the new agreement was to focus on issues at company level which were relevant to the needs of the unions and employers. "The amount of text has been cut without any major changes to the content, the quality has been improved and the possibility of concluding agreements covering issues at company level has improved considerably," says Mr Kahri.

SAK's member trade unions have been given until mid-September to decide whether to commit themselves to the new agreement. TT's affiliates must also decide on this issue.

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