Unexpected turn in the trade sector collective agreement negotiations—Service Union United PAM announces widespread strikes
The collective agreement and salary negotiations launched in January by the Finnish Commerce Federation and Service Union United PAM took a surprising turn on Sunday 22 January 2023 when PAM announced industrial action for the second week of February. According to PAM, the announcement applies to more than 185 sites with about 20,000 employees. The strikes would start in warehouses on Monday, 6 February 2023 and continue in other commerce sector locations on 9 February 2023. The Finnish Commerce Federation considers PAM’s activities irresponsible and feels that PAM has not been genuinely involved in the negotiations and developing the collective agreement.
The Finnish Commerce Federation and PAM held only four rounds of negotiations before PAM announced the strikes.
“The negotiations were far from finished. We had only just discussed suggestions from both parties. The next topic of the negotiations would have been salaries. Contrary to what PAM claims, the Finnish Commerce Federation had promised to respond to PAM’s pay increase proposal at the next scheduled meeting on Thursday,” explains Anna Lavikkala , Labour Market Director at the Finnish Commerce Federation.
The Finnish Commerce Federation and PAM started negotiations concerning salaries and the Collective Agreement for the Commercial Sector on 12 January 2023. The unions began a full round of collective agreement negotiations as the negotiations on pay increases initiated by export unions ended unsuccessfully in autumn 2022. As a result, the Finnish Commerce Federation did not have the opportunity to continue the salary negotiations (November release). In protest about the postponement of the negotiations, PAM organised more than 40 illegal strikes in late 2022.
However, the negotiations were able to begin in January in a constructive spirit. Both parties had numerous suggestions, which were worked on together in order to move the negotiations forward and achieve a negotiated result. The negotiations also included the logistical pay system reform, important for PAM, which the parties have been working on throughout the agreement period.
“The Finnish Commerce Federation still wanted to believe in the current negotiation system. All the events at the turn of the year, more than 40 illegal strikes and the negotiations that have now turned theatrical, make us think critically about the fitness for purpose of the current system, the pace of change and the willingness to develop working life,” Lavikkala says.
Labour disputes between the Finnish Commerce Federation and PAM will now be settled under the leadership of the National Conciliator.
For further information, please contact:
Anna Lavikkala, Labour Market Director, Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 (0)40 040 6088, anna.lavikkala(at)kauppa.fi
Lue myös: Näin Kaupan liiton ja PAMin työriidoista johtuvat lakot toteutuisivat