Minna Etu-Seppälä of the Chemical Industry Federation and Toni Laiho of the Industrial Union spoke to the media in a press conference in Helsinki on Thursday, 6 February. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)

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THE INDUSTRIAL UNION and Chemical Industry Federation of Finland have formally approved the settlement found by their negotiating teams on Wednesday.

The new collective bargaining agreement will raise wages by 3.3 per cent over the next 25 months for around 11,500 employees in the basic chemical industry; oil, natural gas and petrochemical industry; and plastic and chemical product industry.

The agreement will also do away with the 24-hour increase in annual working time introduced under the competitiveness pact and replace it with arrangements that enable businesses to increase operating time and adapt to seasonal fluctuations in demand, according to Minna Etu-Seppälä, the head of labour market affairs at the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland.

The working-time arrangements, she added, also take into account the needs of employees and support the development of their expertise in the changing production environment.

“In light of the circumstances, the outcome can be considered at least satisfactory for chemical industry companies because it upholds their competitiveness. The benefits received from the competitiveness hours can be realised quicker and more surely with new operating models,” she commented.

“It will also be possible to increase annual working time to a pre-determined extent when the working time is related to education and training.”

The collective bargaining agreement will expire on 31 December 2021.

Both the Industrial Union and Chemical Industry Federation on Thursday expressed their relief that an agreement was found after the months-long, at times heated, collective bargaining negotiations, particularly in light of the strike warning issued by the Industrial Union.

“Finding a solution through negotiations in such a difficult situation is an example of the good bargaining culture, years-long co-operation and responsibility in the chemical industry. By avoiding the long strikes, we also prevented negative effects on jobs in the industry,” said Etu-Seppälä.

The Industrial Union, meanwhile, voiced its delight with the fact that the amendments to the terms and conditions of employment floated during the bargaining process were not adopted.

Also Trade Union Pro and the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland on Wednesday reached an agreement in their collective bargaining negotiations, agreeing to raise wages by 3.3 per cent over 25 months and scrap the 24-hour working-time increase.

The agreement covers around 9,000 white-collar workers in the chemical industry and 1,500 white-collar workers in the consumer goods industry.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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