For a long time, I have worked on an article on strikes in Finland with senior researcher Tapio Bergholm of SAK and the University of Helsinki, and our work has now been published in a digital book. The book is called Strikes and social conflicts – Towards a global history and is published by the International Association Strikes and Social Conflict. Our contributrion can be found from page 401 to page 413.
UPDATE: It was not so much in silence, the union only concluded negotiations much earlier than I thought. See here for the original press release.
The Finnish Paper Workers’ Union never fails to surprise, and mostly in a positive sense. Earlier this year, a centralized incomes agreement (which was not to be a real ‘TUPO’ although it seems awfully close) was concluded amd following that, the paper industry’s collective agreement was rewritten. I have little time right now to go through it in detail but one interesting aspect is that there are again some innovations.
First is a framework for ‘working time banks’, which are supposed to help transfer (especially) overtime into free-time. More on the mechanisms later.
Second is a provision for taking into use a 12-hour shift system in continuous shifts. I will discuss this later in connection with the results from the so-called HYVIS-report by the Finnish Institute for Occupational Health.
But most interestingly is the creation of a general agreement for the paper industry. This new section regulates all general aspects of the relation between employer and employee, including shop steward duties, co-decision procedures, training and information (and other) duties on the part of the employer.
It is also very interesting that this collective agreement was born without the slightest publicity, like in 2008. One difference is at least that even the Finnish Paper Workers’ Union itself did not publicly announce this collective agreement. This is a far cry from the days that a new collective agreement of the paper industry was still significant political and/or economic news.
But as said, more on this collective agreement later.