Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Railways sector – Finland

  • Observatory: EurWORK
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  • Published on: 07 December 2008



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The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the respective national and supranational actors (i.e. trade unions and employer organisations) in the field of industrial relations in the railways sector in Finland. In order to determine their relative importance in the sector’s industrial relations, this study will, in particular, focus on their representational quality as well as on their role in collective bargaining. The study is divided into two parts: the first part deals with railway transport operations, based on research carried out in 2006; the second part focuses on rail infrastructure based on research completed in 2007.

Introduction

The Finnish domain is identical to the General industrial classification of economic activities within the European Communities (Nomenclature générale des activités économiques dans les Communautés européennes, NACE). The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) 2002 is the Finnish national classification standard, based on NACE 2002. The industry class of SIC 60.1 is transport via railways. In Finland, four companies operate on the railways and the sector employed 8,543 workers in 2004. Only one employer organisation is present in the sector, the Employers’ Association for Transport and Special Services (Liikenne- ja erityisalojen työnantajayhdistys, LTY), affiliated to the Confederation of Finnish Industries (Elinkeinoelämän keskusliitto, EK), alongside five trade unions. LTY has concluded six effective collective agreements with trade unions. The field of industrial relations in the railways sector is robust, trade unions have a long history and the question of representativeness is clear.

Part 1 – Railway transport operations

1. Sectoral properties

Table 1: Profile of rail transport operations
  1993 2004**
Number of companies 4 4
Aggregate employment 17,945 6,339
Male employment* 15,200 5,388
Female employment* 2,745 951
Aggregate employees* 17,945 6,339
Male employees* 15,200 5,388
Female employees 2,745 951
Aggregate sectoral employment as % of total employment in economy 0.87% 0.27%
Aggregate sectoral employees as % of total number of employees in economy 1% 0.30%

Notes: * The numbers for employment and employees is the same, because no self-employed persons or temporary agency workers work in the railways sector in Finland. ** or most recent data.

Source: Statistics Finland, ‘Official Statistics of Finland: Corporate enterprises and personal business in Finland 2004’

2. The sector’s unions and employer associations

This section includes the following trade unions and employer organisations:

  1. trade unions which are party to sector-related collective bargaining;
  1. trade unions which are a member of the sector-related European federation, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF);
  2. employer organisations which are party to sector-related collective bargaining;
  3. employer organisations which are a member of the sector-related European employer federation, the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER).

2a Data on the unions

Railwaymen’s Union (Rautatieläisten Liitto, RAUTL)

2a.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Voluntary.

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. blue-collar workers, private sector workers, railways sector employees, etc)

Blue-collar workers in engineering and machinery, track and line building, electric installation, maintenance work, management of traffic, maintenance and control of stations, carriage inspection and train conductor work.

2a.3 Number of members

6,961 members, according to survey data and to administrative data from the trade union.

2a.4 Female union members as a percentage of total union membership

22%, according to survey data and to administrative data from the trade union.

2a.5 Density with regard to the union domain (see 2a.2)

96%, according to survey data and to administrative data from the trade union.

2a.6 Density of the union with regard to the sector

96%, according to survey data and to administrative data from the trade union.

2a.7 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

Yes.

2a.8 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including cross-sectoral associations).

RAUTL is affiliated to the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (Suomen Ammattiliittojen Keskusjärjestö, SAK). It belongs to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), ETF and to the Nordic Transport Workers’ Federation (Nordisk Transportarbetarefederation, NTF).

2a Data on the unions

Railway Salaried Staff Union (Rautatievirkamiesliitto, RVL)

2a.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Voluntary.

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. blue-collar workers, private sector workers, railways sector employees, etc)

White-collar workers in customer service, traffic control, administrative and office duties, officials with an academic degree or degree in data processing.

2a.3 Number of members

1,654 members, according to survey data and to administrative data from the trade union.

2a.4 Female union members as a percentage of total union membership

61%, according to survey data and to administrative data from the trade union.

2a.5 Density with regard to the union domain (see 2a.2)

95%, according to survey data and to administrative data from the trade union.

2a.6 Density of the union with regard to the sector

95%, according to survey data and to administrative data from the trade union.

2a.7 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

Yes. RVL has concluded three collective agreements, two of which are in the railways sector.

2a.8 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including cross-sectoral associations).

RVL is affiliated to SAK. It is also affiliated to the Federation of Transport Workers Union (Kuljetusalojen Ammattiliittojen Federaatio, KAF). RVL belongs to ITF, ETF and NTF.

2a Data on the unions

Finnish Locomotive Men’s Union (Veturimiesliitto, VML)

2a.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Voluntary.

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. blue-collar workers, private sector workers, railways sector employees, etc)

White-collar workers in engineering, technicians, people covered by the collective agreement in the field of data processing.

2a.3 Number of members

1,948, according to survey data and to administrative data from the trade union.

2a.4 Female union members as a percentage of total union membership

0.3%, according to survey data and to administrative data from the trade union.

2a.5 Density with regard to the union domain (see 2a.2)

100%, according to survey data and to administrative data from the trade union.

2a.6 Density of the union with regard to the sector

100%, according to survey data and to administrative data from the trade union.

2a.7 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

Yes, VML has concluded a collective agreement with LTY.

2a.8 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including cross-sectoral associations).

VML is affiliated to SAK. It belongs to ITF, ETF and NTF.

2a Data on the unions

Technical Personnel of the VR Group (VR Teknilliset ry)

The technical personnel of Finnish Railways (VR Group) are affiliated to the Union of Technical Officials (Tekniikan ja Tiedon Toimihenkilöt, TTT), which is a member organisation of the Federation of Salaried Employees Pardia (Palkansaajajärjestö Pardia); the latter is a trade union organisation with 70,000 members and 21 member unions. Pardia in turn is affiliated to the Finnish Confederation of Salaried Employees (Toimihenkilökeskusjärjestö, STTK). The majority of Pardia’s members work in governmental offices and institutions, and some are employed by public utility companies and enterprises. About 50% of all Finnish state employees are members of Pardia.

2a.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Voluntary.

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. blue-collar workers, private sector workers, railways sector employees, etc)

The membership domain includes blue-collar workers and lower-level white-collar workers.

2a.3 Number of members

Pardia has 70,000 members and VR Teknilliset has 630 members, according to survey data and to administrative data from the trade union.

2a.4 Female union members as a percentage of total union membership

53%, according to survey data and to administrative data from the trade union.

2a.5 Density with regard to the union domain (see 2a.2)

60%, according to survey data and to administrative data from the trade union.

2a.6 Density of the union with regard to the sector

97%, according to survey data and to administrative data from the trade union.

2a.7 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

Yes (see 4.3.).

2a.8 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including cross-sectoral associations).

Cooperation, dialogue, goal setting and lobbying are carried out through and in accordance with the mandate of the Finnish Public Services Unions’ EU Working Party (FiPSU). Pardia is one of the member organisations of FiPSU.

The most significant European-level action forums are the general conference of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), which is held every five terms, alongside the board and individual committees of EPSU. Also important is the Nordic Public Service Unions (Nordens Offentliganställdas Fackliga Samorganisation, NOFS), which prepares and decides on the opinions and alignments of Nordic public service unions at European level.

EPSU is a member of Public Services International (PSI), which is a confederation of public sector trade unions around the world. PSI carries out the following functions:

  • promotes the rights of association, right to trade union activities and democracy;
  • defends the activities and existence of the public sector;
  • influences global trade and finance policy and labour market issues, and thus communicates with the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC), which represents the trade unions of OECD, as well as the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Pardia also belongs to the Nordic public sector organisation (Nordiska Tjänstemanna Organisation, NSO). Other members of this organisation are the corresponding public sector unions in Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The central tasks of NSO involve maintaining and developing cooperation between public sector organisations and employers in the Nordic countries, addressing significant European-level issues, and exchanging experience and good practice on matters involving the public sector. Cooperation is carried out through annual conferences on current events, in which the employer also participates, as well as in chair and secretarial meetings. NSO cooperates with the corresponding local government organisation (Nordiska Tjänstemanna Rådet, NTR). Cooperation and issues under discussion involve themes relating to the restructuring and development of the public sector.

LTY, the employer organisation representing public utility companies and enterprises, has also been approved as a social partner by the European Commission. It engages in social dialogue, negotiates and makes European-level agreements as a member of the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest (Centre européen des entreprises à participation publique et des entreprises d’intérêt économique général, CEEP). LTY has representation in the most senior decision-making bodies of CEEP, in central committees and in the negotiation groups for European-level framework agreements.

2a Data on the unions

VR-AKAVA RY

2a.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Voluntary.

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. blue-collar workers, private sector workers, railways sector employees, etc)

Engineers with a university degree, academic professionals.

2a.3 Number of members

270 members.

2a.4 Female union members as a percentage of total union membership

Estimated at 10%.

2a.5 Density with regard to the union domain (see 2a.2)

Estimated at 87%.

2a.6 Density of the union with regard to the sector

Estimated at 87%.

2a.7 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

Yes (see 4.3.).

2a.8 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including cross-sectoral associations).

VR-AKAVA is affiliated to the Confederation of Unions for Academic Professionals in Finland (Akateemisten Toimihenkilöiden Keskusjärjestö, AKAVA), through the Delegation of Professional and Managerial Employees (Ylempien toimihenkilöiden neuvottelujärjestö, YTN).

Union density is defined as the ratio of union members to potential union members, as demarcated by the union’s domain and by the sector.

If the domain of a union embraces only part of the sector, then the data on density should refer to this part.

2b Data on the employer associations

Employers’ Association for Transport and Special Services (Liikenne- ja erityisalojen työnantajayhdistys, LTY)

2b.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Voluntary.

2b.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. SMEs, small-scale crafts/industry, subsectors of railways, etc)

LTY is an employer organisation for public enterprises. Founded in 1993 by public enterprises and the Finnish Ministry of Finance, it is a lobbying organisation for public employers in the field of transport and some special areas. Members of LTY represent various transport branches and specific fields such as repair and maintenance, technical inspection, and public sector consulting and training. The member companies are:

  • VR Group Ltd
    • VR Ltd
    • VR Track Ltd (VR Rata Ltd)
  • Corenet Ltd
  • Finnish Road Enterprise
  • Finavia
  • Finnish Forest and Park Service
  • Finnish Institute of Public Management
  • Raskone Ltd
  • Inspecta Ltd (Centre of technical inspection)
  • State Real Property Authority
  • Boreal Plant Breeding Ltd
  • Finnish Potato Centre Ltd
  • Finnish State Pilotage Enterprise
  • Finnish Shipping Enterprise.

2b.3 Number of member companies

15 companies.

2b.4 Number of employees working in member companies

Estimated at 18,680 employees.

2b.5 Density of the association in terms of companies with regard to their domain (see 2b.2)

Estimated at 90%.

2b.6 Density of the association in terms of companies with regard to the sector

Estimated at 100%.

2b.7 Density in terms of employees represented with regard to their domain (see 2b.2)

Estimated at 95%.

2b.8 Density in terms of employees represented with regard to the sector

Estimated at 100%.

2b.9 Does the employer association conclude collective agreements?

Yes, LTY has concluded six operative collective agreements (see 4.3.).

2b.10 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including the cross-sectoral associations).

LTY is a member of EK, which is a member of BusinessEurope. LTY is also a member of the Finnish CEEP section.

Employer density in terms of companies is defined as the ratio of member companies to the potential member companies, as demarcated by the employer associations’ domain and by the sector.

Employer density in terms of employees is defined as the ratio of the number of employees working in the member companies to the number of employees working in the potential member companies, as demarcated by the employer associations’ domain and by the sector.

If the domain of an employer association embraces only part of the sector, then the data on density should refer to this part.

3. Inter-associational relationships

3.1. Please list all unions covered by this study whose domains overlap.

RAUTL, RVL, VML, Technical Personnel of the VR Group/Pardia and VR-AKAVA.

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

Industrial relations in the railways sector are robust, and all of the trade unions have operated in the sector for a long time. No competition arises among the unions, because they represent certain professions and different tasks in railways.

3.3. If yes, are certain unions excluded from these rights?

No.

3.4. Same question for employer associations as 3.1.

LTY.

3.5. Same question for employer associations as 3.2.

No, LTY is the only employer organisation in this sector.

4. The system of collective bargaining

Collective agreements are defined in line with national labour law regardless of whether they are negotiated under a peace obligation.

4.1. Sector’s rate of collective bargaining coverage

Estimated at 90% by LTY.

4.2. Relative importance of multi-employer agreements and of single-employer agreements as a percentage of the total number of employees covered

The rate of collective bargaining coverage is 100%. The collective agreement negotiated on the basis of the national incomes policy agreement covers all employees.

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

The collective agreements have a generally or universally binding nature. Since 1971, a principle of general applicability of collective agreements has been in effect in Finland. According to that principle, employers which are unorganised also have to comply with the national agreements that concern their line of business. The generally binding nature of a collective agreement depends on various factors, particularly the organising rate of employers and employees in the economic 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 of the agreement 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?

The practice of extending collective agreements is pervasive. Thus, all unorganised employers and employees are enforced by the collective agreements.

4.3. Sector-related multi-employer wage agreements* valid in 2004 (or most recent data)

* Only wage agreements which are (re)negotiated on a reiterated basis. For the notion of “sector-related”, see the conceptual remarks. In case of regionally differentiated, parallel agreements, an aggregate answer explaining the pattern may be given.

Table 2: Sector-related multi-employer wage agreements
Bargaining parties Purview of sector-related multi-employer wage agreements
Sectoral Type of employees Territorial
LTY and VML Collective agreement concerning train drivers in the railways sector (Valid 16 February 2005–30 September 2007) Workers (train drivers) Generally binding, national
LTY and RAUTL Collective agreement concerning railways sector (Valid 16 February 2005–30 September 2007) Workers Generally binding, national
LTY and RAUTL Supplementary collective agreement concerning staff of the VR Group (Valid 16 February 2005–30 September 2007) Workers Company-level agreement (VR Ltd)
LTY and RVL Collective agreement concerning customer service, traffic control, administrative and other back office duties (Valid 16 February 2005–30 September 2007) Clerical employees Generally binding, national
LTY and RVL Collective agreement concerning research and development and administrative duties requiring a university degree (Valid 16 February 2005–30 September 2007) Clerical employees Company-level agreement (VR Ltd)
LTY and Technical Personnel of the VR Group/Pardia Collective agreement concerning technicians in railways in the field of data processing (Valid 16 February 2005–30 September 2007) Clerical employees Company-level agreement (VR Ltd)
LTY and VR-AKAVA Collective agreement concerning engineers with a university degree or other academic professionals in the railways sector (Valid 16 February 2005–30 September 2007) Clerical employees Company-level agreement (VR Ltd)

5. Formulation and implementation of sector-specific public policies

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

-

5.2. Do tripartite bodies dealing with sector-specific issues exist?

According to LTY, no bipartite or tripartite bodies exist regarding sector-specific issues agreed in collective agreements. Instead, VR Ltd – a state-owned company – has several programmes concerning health and safety in particular, including rehabilitation, keep-fit activities and well-being at work. These programmes are organised together with the trade unions.

RAUTL, RVL and VML have concluded an agreement on cooperation concerning industrial safety with the VR Group. On the basis of the agreement, trade unions have elected representatives to the local industrial safety commissions and have selected industrial safety delegates and authorised representatives.

An important part of trade union activities consists of the different joint works councils and cooperation meetings within the VR Group. Works councils and meetings address issues regarding working hours, working conditions and safety in railways.

One particular problem in the Finnish railways is the fact that most personnel have worked for a long time. The average length of service, for example, in the VR Group is 26 years. After pursuing a restrained recruitment policy for a number of years, VR is preparing for faster recruitment of a new generation of employees. The challenge for such a recruitment campaign is that no existing pool of labour is professionally trained in railway work. Consequently, most new employees start working for the VR Group through the company’s own vocational education. The pace of recruitment during 2004 was brisk: a total of 135 people were selected for training as train drivers, conductors, traffic controllers and marshalling yard personnel.

6. Statutory regulations of representativeness

6.1. In the case of the unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements?

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.

6.2. In the case of the 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?

No statutory regulations exist.

6.3. Are elections for a certain representational body (e.g. works councils) established as criteria for union representativeness?

No.

6.4. Same question for employer associations as 6.1.

See answer for 6.1.

6.5. Same question for employer associations as 6.2.

No statutory regulations exist.

6.6. Are elections for a certain representational body established as criteria for the representativeness of employer associations?

No.

7. Commentary

In Finland, industrial relations in the railways sector are robust, trade unions have a long history, and the issue of representativeness is clear and free of recognition problems.

Part 2 – Railway infrastructure

The Finnish Rail Administration (Ratahallintokeskus, RHK) is responsible for maintaining and developing Finland’s rail network. It manages the rail network through planning, construction, maintenance and traffic control. RHK buys railway infrastructure services from enterprises. The NACE code 63.21 used by Statistics Finland includes all kinds of infrastructure services. Thus, the number of companies and employees in the sector are based on expert estimations.

The largest company in the sector is VR Track Ltd, offering track maintenance, track building, planning, design and track development services. Some 60% of the shares of VR Track Ltd are owned by the state. In 2005, 12 companies operated full time in the sector and about 60 companies partially operated in the sector; overall, these companies employed about 3,100 persons. In the sector, two employer organisations are present: LTY and INFRA ry, which is an employer organisation belonging to the Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries (Rakennusteollisuus RT ry), affiliated to EK.

Trade unions which are party to sector-related collective bargaining or which are a member of the sector-related ETF are RAUTL, the Technical Railway Personnel (Rautatiealan Teknisten Liitto, RTL ry), the Finnish Construction Trade Union (Rakennusliitto), VR-AKAVA and the Union of Salaried Employees (Toimihenkilöunioni, TU).

1. Sectoral properties

Table 3: Profile of rail infrastructure
  1994 2005**
Number of companies 1 (VR Track Ltd) 12 full-time and about 60 part-time
Aggregate employment* 4,200 3,100
Male employment* 95% 95%
Female employment* 5% 5%
Aggregate employees 3,500 2,800
Male employees 90% 92%
Female employees 10% 8%
Aggregate sectoral employment as % of total employment in economy 0.22% 0.13%
Aggregate sectoral employees as % of total number of employees in economy 0.22% 0.14%

Notes: * employees plus self-employed persons and temporary agency workers. ** or most recent data.

2. The sector’s unions and employer associations

This section includes the following unions and employer associations:

  1. trade unions which are party to sector-related collective bargaining;

(In line with the conceptual remarks outlined in the accompanying briefing note, 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)

  1. trade unions which are a member of the sector-related European federation ETF;
  2. employer organisations which are party to sector-related collective bargaining;
  3. employer organisations which are a member of the sector-related European employer federations CER and the European Rail Infrastructure Managers (EIM).

2a Data on the unions

Railwaymen’s Union (RAUTL)

2a.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Voluntary.

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. blue-collar workers, private sector workers, railways sector employees, etc)

Blue-collar workers in engineering and machinery, track and line building, electric installation, maintenance work, management of traffic, maintenance and control of stations, carriage inspection and train conductor work.

2a.3 Number of members

6,961 members.

2a.4 Number of union members in the sector

1,300 members.

2a.5 Female union members as a percentage of total union membership

22%.

2a.6 Density with regard to the union domain (see 2a.2)

96%.

2a.7 Density of the union with regard to the sector

98%.

2a.8 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

Yes (see 4.3).

2a.9 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including cross-sectoral associations).

RAUTL is affiliated to SAK. It belongs to ITF, ETF and NTF.

2a Data on the unions

Finnish Construction Trade Union (Rakennusliitto)

2a.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Voluntary.

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. blue-collar workers, private sector workers, railways sector employees, etc)

Blue-collar workers. The trade union organises and represents workers in different occupations in the building and construction industry.

2a.3 Number of members

83,017 members.

2a.4 Number of union members in the sector

200 members.

2a.5 Female union members as a percentage of total union membership

4.5%.

2a.6 Density with regard to the union domain (see 2a.2)

72%.

2a.7 Density of the union with regard to the sector

70%.

2a.8 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

Yes (see 4.3.).

2a.9 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including cross-sectoral associations).

Rakennusliitto is an affiliated union in the International Federation of Building and Wood Workers (IFBWW), the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW), the Nordic Building and Wood Workers’ Federation (Nordiska Byggnads- och Träarbetarefederationen, NBTF), the Nordic Union of Road Construction Workers, the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM), the European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers’ Federation (EMCEF) and the Nordic Federation of Industrial Workers.

2a Data on the unions

Technical Railway Personnel (Rautatiealan Teknisten Liitto, RTL ry)

RTL is a member union of Pardia, which is a trade union organisation with 70,000 members and 21 member unions. Pardia in turn is affiliated to STTK. The majority of Pardia’s members work in governmental offices and institutions, and some are employed by public utility companies and enterprises. About 50% of all Finnish state employees are members of Pardia.

2a.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Voluntary.

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. blue-collar workers, private sector workers, railways sector employees, etc)

The membership domain includes blue-collar workers and lower-level white-collar workers.

2a.3 Number of members

Pardia has 70,000 members and RTL has 630 members.

2a.4 Number of union members in the sector

450 members.

2a.5 Female union members as a percentage of total union membership

4%.

2a.6 Density with regard to the union domain (see 2a.2)

60%.

2a.7 Density of the union with regard to the sector

90%.

2a.8 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

Yes (see 4.3.).

2a.9 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including cross-sectoral associations).

Cooperation, dialogue, goal setting and lobbying are carried out through and in accordance with the mandate of FiPSU. Pardia is one of the member organisations of FiPSU.

The most significant European-level action forums are the general conference of EPSU, which is held every five terms, alongside the board and individual committees of EPSU. Also important is NOFS, which prepares and decides on the opinions and alignments of Nordic public service unions at European level.

EPSU is a member of PSI, which is a confederation of public sector trade unions around the world. The activities of PSI were outlined in the first part of this study, including promoting the rights of association, right to trade union activities and democracy, defending the activities and existence of the public sector, and influencing global trade and finance policy and labour market issues.

Pardia also belongs to NSO. Other members of this Nordic organisation are the corresponding public sector unions in Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The central tasks of NSO involve maintaining and developing cooperation between public sector organisations and employers in the Nordic countries, addressing significant European-level issues, and exchanging experience and good practice on matters involving the public sector. Cooperation is carried out through annual conferences on current events, in which the employer also participates, as well as in chair and secretarial meetings. NSO cooperates with the corresponding local government organisation NTR. Cooperation and issues under discussion involve themes relating to the restructuring and development of the public sector.

2a Data on the unions

VR-AKAVA RY

2a.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Voluntary.

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. blue-collar workers, private sector workers, railways sector employees, etc)

Engineers with a university degree, academic professionals.

2a.3 Number of members

270 members.

2a.4 Number of union members in the sector

60 members.

2a.5 Female union members as a percentage of total union membership

10%.

2a.6 Density with regard to the union domain (see 2a.2)

87%.

2a.7 Density of the union with regard to the sector

87%.

2a.8 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

Yes (see 4.3.).

2a.9 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including cross-sectoral associations).

VR-AKAVA is affiliated to AKAVA through YTN.

Union density is defined as the ratio of union members to potential union members, as demarcated by the union’s domain and by the sector.

If the domain of a union embraces only part of the sector, then the data on density should refer to this part.

2a Data on the unions

Union of Salaried Employees ( Toimihenkilöunioni, TU)

2a.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Voluntary.

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. blue-collar workers, private sector workers, gas sector employees, etc)

TU is the largest industrial white-collar trade union in Finland. It gathers experts in industry and industrial services, technicians, economists and clerical workers. Members of TU work as supervisors or specialists. The main branches of economic activity are the manufacture of metal products; manufacture of pulp, paper and wood products; manufacture of chemicals; energy supply; and services.

In May 2001, four Finnish industrial white-collar workers unions founded TU as a new trade union. The four unions were: the Union of Technical Employees (Teknisten Liitto, TL), the Union of Salaried Employees in Industry (Teollisuustoimihenkilöiden Liitto, STL), the Federation of Private Building Employees (Rakennusteknisten ammattiliitto, RAL) and the Swedish Association of Technicians and Foremen in Finland (Svenska Tekniska Funktionärsförbundet i Finland, STAF).

2a.3 Number of members

125,722 members.

2a.4 Number of union members in the sector

80 members.

2a.5 Female union members as a percentage of total union membership

45.5% of total union membership.

2a.6 Density with regard to the union domain (see 2a.2)

Union density with regard to the union domain is 79%.

2a.7 Density of the union with regard to the sector

Union density with regard to the sector is 75%.

2a.8 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

Yes, TU is a bargaining party in the collective agreement for clerical workers with the employer organisation INFRA (see 4.3.).

2a.9 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations.

TU is a member of STTK. TU has the following memberships.

  • In the Nordic countries: the Federation of workers in Scandinavia (Industrianställda i Norden, IN), Union Network International for Industry, Business and Information Technology Services in Scandinavia (UNI-IBITS Norden), Nordisk Tele Organisation (NTO), NBTF, the Nordic Industry Workers’ Federation (Nordiska Industriarbetarefederationen, NIF), the Nordic Food and Allied Workers’ Union (Nordiska Unionen innen Nærings- og Nytelsesmiddelarbeiderforbund, NU) and NTF.
  • At European level: the European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF), EMCEF, UNI-Europa, EFBWW, the European Trade Union Federation: Textiles, Clothing, Leather (ETUF-TCL), the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism (EFFAT) and ETF.
  • And worldwide: the International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF), ICEM, UNI, IFBWW, the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation (ITGLWF), the International Union of Food workers (IUF) and ITF.

2b Data on the employer associations

Employers’ Association for Transport and Special Services (LTY)

2b.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Voluntary.

2b.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. SMEs, small-scale crafts/industry, subsectors of railways, etc)

LTY is an employer organisation for public enterprises. Founded in 1993 by public enterprises and the Finnish Ministry of Finance, it is a lobbying organisation for public employers in the field of transport and some special areas. Members of LTY represent various transport branches and specific fields such as repair and maintenance, technical inspection, and public sector consulting and training.

The most important member company in the railway infrastructure sector is VR Track Ltd, employing about 2,400 employees. It is Finland’s largest rail constructor and its expertise covers all sectors of railway engineering, from design to project implementation.

2b.3 Number of member companies (i.e. the total number of members of the association as a whole)

15 companies.

2b.4 Number of member companies in the sector

2 companies: VR Track Ltd and Destia.

2b.5 Number of employees working in member companies (i.e. the total number of the association as a whole)

20,300 employees.

2b.6 Density of the association in terms of companies with regard to their domain (see 2b.2)

90%.

2b.7 Number of employees working in member companies in the sector

2,400 employees.

2b.8 Density of the association in terms of companies with regard to the sector

17%.

2b.9 Density in terms of employees represented with regard to their domain (see 2b.2)

50%.

2b.10 Density in terms of employees represented with regard to the sector

85%.

2b.11 Does the employer association conclude collective agreements?

Yes, LTY has concluded operative collective agreements (see 4.3.).

2b.12 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including the cross-sectoral associations).

LTY is a member of EK, which is a member of BusinessEurope. LTY is also a member of the Finnish CEEP section. LTY has been approved as a social partner by the European Commission, and it engages in social dialogue, negotiates and makes European-level agreements as a member of CEEP. LTY has representation in the most senior decision-making bodies of CEEP, in central committees and in the negotiation groups for European-level framework agreements.

2b Data on the employer associations

INFRA RY is an employer organisation belonging to the EK-affiliated Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries. It was previously known as Suomen Maarakentajien Keskusliitto (SML).

2b.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Voluntary.

2b.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. SMEs, small-scale crafts/industry, subsectors of railways, etc)

INFRA a joint interest organisation of building contractors, special contractors and the construction product industry.

2b.3 Number of member companies (i.e. the total number of members of the association as a whole)

1,565 companies.

2b.4 Number of member companies in the sector

The number of member companies acting full time or part time in the railway infrastructure sector is about 50 companies.

2b.5 Number of employees working in member companies (i.e. the total number of the association as a whole)

11,900 employees.

2b.6 Density of the association in terms of companies with regard to their domain (see 2b.2)

35%.

2b.7 Number of employees working in member companies in the sector

400 employees.

2b.8 Density of the association in terms of companies with regard to the sector

90%.

2b.9 Density in terms of employees represented with regard to their domain (see 2b.2)

65%.

2b.10 Density in terms of employees represented with regard to the sector

15%.

2b.11 Does the employer association conclude collective agreements?

Yes, INFRA has concluded operative collective agreements (see 4.3.).

2b.12 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including the cross-sectoral associations).

INFRA is a member of the:

  • Nordic Aggregate Association (Nordiska Sten- och Grusindustriförbund, NSG);
  • European Aggregates Association (Union Européenne des Producteurs de Granulats, UEPG);
  • European Federation of Executive Engineers (EFEE).

Employer density in terms of companies is defined as the ratio of member companies to the potential member companies, as demarcated by the employer associations’ domain and by the sector.

Employer density in terms of employees is defined as the ratio of the number of employees working in the member companies to the number of employees working in the potential member companies, as demarcated by the employer associations’ domain and by the sector.

If the domain of an employer association embraces only part of the sector, then the data on density should refer to this part.

3. Inter-associational relationships

3.1. Please list all unions covered by this study whose domains overlap.

RAUTL, RTL, the Finnish Construction Trade Union, VR-AKAVA and TU.

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

No.

3.3. If yes, are certain unions excluded from these rights?

No.

3.4. Same question for employer associations as 3.1.

LTY and INFRA.

3.5. Same question for employer associations as 3.2.

No.

4. The system of collective bargaining

Collective agreements are defined in line with national labour law regardless of whether they are negotiated under a peace obligation.

4.1. Sector’s rate of collective bargaining coverage

90%.

4.2. Relative importance of multi-employer agreements and of single-employer agreements as a percentage of the total number of employees covered

The rate of collective bargaining coverage is 100%. Collective agreements negotiated on the basis of the national incomes policy agreement cover all employees.

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

The collective agreements have a generally or universally binding nature. Since 1971, a principle of general applicability of collective agreements has been in effect in Finland. According to that principle, employers which are unorganised also have to comply with the national agreements that concern their line of business. The generally binding nature of a collective agreement depends on various factors, particularly the organising rate of employers and employees in the economic 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 of the agreement 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?

The practice of extending collective agreements is pervasive. Thus, all unorganised employers and employees are enforced by the collective agreements.

4.3. Sector-related multi-employer wage agreements* valid in 2005 (or most recent data)

* Only wage agreements which are (re)negotiated on a reiterated basis. In case of regionally differentiated, parallel agreements, an aggregate answer explaining the pattern may be given.

Table 4: Sector-related multi-employer wage agreements
Bargaining parties Purview of sector-related multi-employer wage agreements
Sectoral Type of employees Territorial
LTY and RAUTL Collective agreement concerning railways sector (Valid 16 February 2005–30 September 2007) Workers Generally binding, national
LTY and RAUTL Supplementary collective agreement concerning staff of VR Group (Valid 16 February 2005–30 September 2007) Workers Company-level agreement (VR Ltd)
LTY and RAUTL and RTL/Pardia Collective agreement concerning technicians in railways in the field of data processing (Valid 16 February 2005–30 September 2007) Clerical employees Company-level agreement (VR Ltd)
LTY and VR-AKAVA Collective agreement concerning engineers with a university degree or other academic professionals in the railways sector (Valid 16 February 2005–30 September 2007) Clerical employees Company-level agreement (VR Ltd)
INFRA and the Finnish Construction Trade Union . Collective agreement concerning construction (Valid 16 February 2005–30 September 2007) Workers Generally binding, national
INFRA and TU Collective agreement concerning technicians in construction (Valid 16 February 2005–30 September 2007) Clerical employees Generally binding, national

5. Formulation and implementation of sector-specific public policies

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

LTY on the employers’ side and RAUTL on the trade union side are usually consulted by the authorities in sector-specific matters.

5.2. Do tripartite bodies dealing with sector-specific issues exist?

An important part of trade union activities consists of the different joint works councils and cooperation meetings within the VR Group. Works councils and meetings address issues regarding working hours, working conditions and safety in railways. LTY, RTL and RAUTL have a joint working group which aims to develop the payroll system and working hours, by means of working time accounts.

RAUTL has concluded an agreement on cooperation concerning industrial safety with the VR Group. On the basis of the agreement, trade unions have elected representatives to the local industrial safety commissions and selected industrial safety delegates and authorised representatives.

Table 5: Sector-specific public policies*
Name of body and scope of activity Bipartite/tripartite Origin: agreement/statutory Trade unions having representatives Employer organisations having representatives
Columbus: development of payroll system and working time arrangements Bipartite Agreement RAUTL, RTL LTY

Note: * Sector-specific policies specifically target and affect the sector under consideration.

6. Statutory regulations of representativeness

6.1. In the case of the unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements?

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.

6.2. In the case of the 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?

No statutory regulations exist.

6.3. Are elections for a certain representational body (e.g. works councils) established as criteria for union representativeness?

No.

6.4. Same question for employer associations as 6.1.

See the answer for 6.1.

6.5. Same question for employer associations as 6.2.

No statutory regulations exist.

6.6. Are elections for a certain representational body established as criteria for the representativeness of employer associations?

No.

7. Commentary

In Finland, industrial relations in the railways sector are robust, trade unions have a long history, and the issue of representativeness is clear and free of recognition problems.

Pertti Jokivuori, Statistics Finland

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