Ilkka Hämälä, the board chairperson at Finnish Forest Industries, on Thursday said forest industry companies will create their negotiating practices based on their own needs. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

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FINNISH FOREST INDUSTRIES on Thursday announced it will vacate its seat at the centralised bargaining table in protest of the lack of progress made in the promotion of local bargaining in Finland.

“There has been no progress on local bargaining either through legislative channels, or the efforts of organisations,” lamented Ilkka Hämälä, the board chairperson at Finnish Forest Industries.

The interest group argued that the national inter-organisational bargaining system has proven incapable of taking into account the varying needs of companies in different market and financial situations, operating environments and individual production facilities.

Hämälä said the group will abandon the bargaining process and delegate responsibility for ironing out the terms and conditions of employment to businesses and their employees across Finland. Employers and employees can therefore agree not only on how to develop operations, but also on wages, work shifts and all terms and conditions of employment subject to no legislative restrictions.

The objective, he added, is also to increase dialogue between businesses and their employees.

The decision will enter into force after a 15–27-month transition period to enable businesses and employees to prepare for it. Businesses in the industry will establish their own negotiating practices based on their needs, according to Hämälä.

Finnish Forest Industries will continue to see to any obligations in its current collective bargaining agreements until their expiry.

“We respect the right of trade unions to make agreements and organise based on their own needs,” stressed Hämälä.

The announcement drew immediate criticism from Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP). Marin on Twitter revealed that she recently sat down with representatives of both Finnish Forest Industries and the Paperworkers’ Union.

“Last week, I met Petri Vanhala of Paperworkers’ Union,” she said. “Based on that meeting, I was optimistic that we are about to find a genuine spirit of collaboration in the name of our home country in the middle of this crisis. Finnish Forest Industries’ message tells a totally different story.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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