Know your Rights

New General Collective Agreement For the Universities Reached in Advance

The Association of Finnish Independent Education Employers (AFIEE) (which represent the Universities) and Negotiation Organisation for Public Sector Professionals JUKO, Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL) and Trade Union Pro (which all represent the employees), were able to reach a negotiation result in the difficult collective bargaining for the universities in Finland Tuesday March 24.

The result was reached in advance, the previous collective agreement is still in force until March 31.2020. The schedule for the collective bargaining was up-speeded due to the corona-virus pandemic. Both the employer’s side and the employees’ side wanted to reach an agreement quickly to help both the universities and their employees in this crisis.

Therefore the collective bargaining only consisted of negotiations about the term of the collective agreement, the level of the salary raises and the compensation for the removal of the 24 unpaid annual extra working hours brought to the collective agreements nationally in 2016 as a part of the national Competitiveness Pact. Eventhough the corona pandemic has affected many things already, the collective agreement for the universities still follows what is known as the general level, based on the other collective agreements that already have been bargained this year in Finland for other sectors. This was, however, the first collective agreement finished for JUKO this year. This means that the collective agreements for the government, municipalities, churchs etc. are still in the making, which is quite extraordinary, since the university sector’s collective bargaining has never before finished first.

The general level for the collective agreements this year has meant salary rises of approximately 3,3% for 25 month agreements. The collective agreement for the universities was made for 24 months with a salary raise of 3,2%, which follows the general level quite closely. Also, the compensation for the employer for the 24 unpaid annual extra hours for the other staff working under regular working hours, was very close to the way it has been compensated at the general level. The compensation has mostly given the employer for example some more flexibility with the working hours as was also agreed for the universities. For the research and teaching staff there were some alterations made to the teaching hours and the unpaid extra working hours were only diminished to a half (12 hours). This was the first agreement reached for a collective agreement including an annual working hour system so therefore there was no general line to follow regarding the removal of the 24 unpaid annual extra hours in such a working hour system.

Also there are five different working groups that were agreed upon in the collective agreement. These working groups were set out to tackle issues such as the teaching hours and the new methods of teaching at the universities, different statistics related to the universities (such as salaries) and also one to examine the career models and tenure track systems at the universities.

text Mia Weckman
lawyer, The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers

Painetussa lehdessä sivu 50