Trade Union Pro demands that the employees of Kotidata receive wages corresponding to those of technical specialists in accordance with the collective agreement for the ICT sector. However, the collective agreement for the ICT sector is not applicable to Kotidata. This has also been stated by Palta, a negotiating party to the ICT collective agreement.
Suomen Kotidata operates in the commerce sector and sells, among other things, smart home appliances, software and related ancillary services in stores and at customers’ homes. Kotidata has lots of diverse partners. Service cooperation began with operators in the banking and media industries and other commerce sector operators. After that, the operations have expanded into cooperation with pensioner associations, an operator that offers home security solutions and teleoperators, among others. Kotidata does not work as a subcontractor of teleoperators in actual network operations.
“Even if, based on their work history, an employee is a professional ICT installation engineer, it does not entitle the employee to wages in accordance with the collective agreement for the ICT sector, if Kotidata has hired the employee for other duties. These duties require sales and customer-service competence as well as product knowledge of household IT equipment. This world comes under the scope of the collective agreement for the commerce sector,” says Anna Lavikkala, Labour Market Director of the Finnish Commerce Federation.
The Finnish Commerce Federation is under an obligation to monitor compliance with the Collective Agreement for the Commercial Sector.
“We have been sitting in meetings with Pro for hours and requested detailed information about the employees’ outstanding wages and other ambiguities; however, the entire time, not a single dispute has been submitted to us to resolve,” says Lavikkala.
Some of the meetings have also involved a representative of PAM and the company’s labour protection delegate. There is also a shop steward of Service Union United PAM in the company.
According to the Finnish Commerce Federation, it is very questionable that Pro is continuing to present these same allegations in public even though they have not submitted a single concrete wage dispute to Kotidata or the Finnish Commerce Federation for resolution, in spite of requests.
“In public, Pro is riding the allegations of its members being underpaid and having employment-related problems. However, wouldn’t it be in the employees’ interests to resolve these alleged disputes concretely and promptly at the workplace and ultimately, legally, instead?” Lavikkala asks.
Instead of resolving the alleged employment disputes, Pro has primarily been willing to discuss a roadmap towards the adoption of the collective agreement for the ICT sector at Kotidata. It has stated, also publicly, that it will only accept the wages and benefits determined in the collective agreement for the ICT sector as a solution to the dispute.
“For years, we have managed disputes with PAM in accordance with good labour market practice and, almost every time, solutions have been reached quickly. We have never encountered anything like the action Pro is taking,” Lavikkala says.
The Finnish Commerce Federation finds that Pro has decided to victimise Kotidata and portray it as a cautionary example in its policy drive to expand the collective agreement for the ICT sector to as many companies as possible.
“Pro’s media statements and actions make it clear that Pro is not concerned about Kotidata’s staff, since it is prepared to run the company’s operations into the ground to achieve its goal,” Lavikkala adds.
In its own statement, Pro has stated that “the dispute therefore concerns something that is a lot bigger than just Kotidata.”
“It seems that the position and interests of the employees come second. Pro is hinting at the poor position of employees and berates the company in the media. Pro itself has stated that “Kotidata is a trial balloon”. Pro is engaging in hard organisational policy, with the employees’ jobs at stake,” Lavikkala says.
For further information, please contact: Anna Lavikkala, Labour Market Director, the Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 400 406 088, email@example.com