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.
Finnish Commerce Federation and Service Union United PAM have agreed that next year's collective agreement and salary negotiations will begin on 12 January 2023.
The debate on the position of primary food producers and the distribution of profits and increased costs in the food supply chain has accelerated and intensified over the past year. As the year is coming to a close, commerce has prepared the Kaupan näkökulmia ruokakeskusteluun (‘Commerce’s view of the food debate’) material package to declare its stance, to open up the situation in the market and to provide facts for the, occasionally, biased discussion.
The Finnish Commerce Federation condemns the walkouts and work stoppages against companies in the commerce sector as illegal industrial action. These disturbances reduce confidence in the functionality of the collective agreement system as a whole. The measures taken during the Christmas trade, which is essential for the commerce sector, also cause disproportionate harm to commerce companies and customers.
Since last year, customer satisfaction has increased in all the speciality and household goods trade sectors studied. In particular, domestic chains have improved their position in customer satisfaction, service experience and customer loyalty. Although customer satisfaction in the grocery trade did not increase, the average is still clearly higher than in other sectors.
The Finnish Commerce Federation and Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) are launching a digital business study module that offers employees working in the commerce sector the opportunity to develop their skills through practical courses. The course package will be available in the study selection of the Open University of Applied Sciences.
The Finnish Commerce Federation and the Federation of Finnish Enterprises say that Finnish companies should be able to seek a restraining order for individuals that cause constant disturbance. In Sweden, the company restraining order system has been in place in the commerce sector for more than a year, and the initial experiences have been positive. Disruptive behaviour has been an issue in the service sector, in particular. Customers, employees and companies need a safe place to access and provide services, the federations say.
The Finnish Commerce Federation considers the report on the future of the commerce sector approved by the government as a welcome and necessary development as the competitive strength of the sector must be protected. The Finnish Commerce Federation is satisfied with aspects such as the emphasises of the research, development and innovation (RDI) operations that enable utilising the opportunities created by digitalisation. On the other hand, city planning and the regulation of both alcohol and pharmacies would have required bolder reforming.
Hannu Krook, President of SOK, continues as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Finnish Commerce Federation in 2023. Mikko Teittinen, CEO of Bang & Bonsomer Group Oy, was appointed as the Vice Chair.
Even though smaller seasons spread sales over several other months, December is still by far the most important month in terms of sales for Finnish retail trade. Sales in December grow by about one-fifth compared to the monthly average for the year. For many speciality goods stores, successful Christmas sales are crucial.