The current rounds of collective agreement negotiations is the first in a long time in which agreement is at least theoretically possible without external limitations. For the entire 2010s negotiations were tied to various competitiveness solutions, and a couple of years ago removing the additional “competitiveness agreement hours” required extensive negotiation. This time around, it is possible to discuss the universities’ collective agreement on its own merits.
Of course, various collective agreements, particularly in the public sector, are connected to each other, at least morally. With the universities’ agreement negotiations in full swing, a short overview of the results of the other collective agreement negotiations is thus timely. It is of course rude to butt in on negotiations at other tables, but the agreements made elsewhere are sure to provide good building blocks for the university world, too.
In the private sector collective agreements, the breakthrough agreement came, in familiar fashion, in the technology sector. This time, however, it was the Akava negotiating organization, the Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff (YTN), which settled negotiating solutions at the very start of 2022. YTN had to struggle for quite a while in its own negotiations to keep across-the-board pay rises. It was eventually successful in this and senior salaried employees’ pay rose by at least 0.9% in 2022 in a general increase and by 0.9% in a local pay rise portion, unless otherwise agreed at the company level. In all, the cost effect in the private sector agreement sectors looks like it will settle around 1.8% to 2%.
Regarding other issues than pay rises, this negotiation round has not provided significant new breakthroughs for the private sector. Everyone is certainly aware of the large reform to family leave legislation, and agreement-specific working groups are due to agree on how to manage the paid nature of family leave between the birth mother and other parent in future. However, as it has been settled that the majority of the collective agreements will implement the family leave reform with a neutral cost impact, reaching agreement is made difficult. On the other hand, central government will support family leave more than before in the form of parental allowance, giving some wiggle room in negotiations on this matter.
The negotiations on the state sector’s collective agreement have considerably similarities to the university sector. A negotiating agreement was achieved in this sector on 28 February 2022. The agreement lasts two years, from 1 March 2022 to 29 February 2024. The general pay rise will raise all state employees’ salaries by 2% from 1 June 2022. The rise for 2023 will be negotiated at the national level by mid-December. If the parties do not reach an agreement on the second-year pay rises, the agreement can be rescinded after the first year.
Of the amendments made to the state sector collective agreement text, a principally significant addition concerns family leave. When employed by the state, the birth mother’s paid family leave remained at a total of 72 days (= approximately 3 months). In contrast, the other parent’s paid family leave rose from 6 days (= 1 week) to 18 days (= 3 weeks). There is still a long way to go to full equality in this regard, but the direction is right.
The overview above shows that there are many good building blocks being used in the labour market negotiating tables. They will certainly be seen in one way or another in the forthcoming universities’ collective agreement.
Petri Toiviainen, negotiations manager, Social Science Professionals