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Change negotiations and cooperation

Cooperation is a procedure between an employer and employee that addresses issues related to employee’s rights and obligations. Before deciding on matters requiring co-operation negotiations, the employer must consult the employees. In some cases, however, it is enough to simply inform the workers.

Frequently asked questions about co-operation negotiations

The Act on Co-operation within Undertakings, which obliges you to have co-operation negotiations, is applied to companies that have at least 20 employees on a regular basis, with certain exceptions. The number of employees includes both part-time and fixed-term employees. The number of employees does not, however, include employees who work temporarily or for a shorter period of time or season. Neither are temporary agency workers and employees under a subcontractor taken into account in the calculation of the number of employees of the subscriber company.

The Act on Co-operation within Undertakings obliges you to negotiate in situations concerning particularly the dismissal, layoff or partial layoff of employees, business transfer or the impact on personnel or organisation of work due to changes in business operations. On the initiative of the employer or the employees’ representative, negotiations can also concern other matters relating to work, such as changes in rules of work or the design of social facilities at the workplace.

Negotiations on dismissals, layoffs or partial layoffs are normally between the employer and the employees’ representatives. If the dismissals, layoffs or partial layoffs concern only an individual employee or individual employees in different personnel groups, the matter can be discussed between the employee and the employer. However, the employee has the right to demand that the matter concerning them is also discussed between the shop steward and the employer.

If the co-operation negotiations concern the reduction of a workforce, they must observe the minimum negotiating periods specified by law.

If the co-operation negotiations concern partial layoff, full-time layoff or dismissal of fewer than 10 persons, or a temporary layoff of no more than 90 days, negotiations must last at least 14 days.

If the negotiations concern the dismissal, partial layoff or layoff of at least 10 persons for a period longer than 90 days, negotiations must last at least six weeks. If the company or organisation has fewer than 30 employees, the negotiation period must be at least 14 days.

The employer can conclude the co-operation negotiations after the minimum negotiation period has passed and the grounds for the measure planned by the employer, its effects, and the alternatives presented by the shop steward have been discussed.

Nearly everyone considers co-operation negotiations and the possible termination of employment distressing. Your shop steward will keep you informed of the progress of the co-operation negotiations and also answer your questions regarding the negotiations.

Our career service provides our members with advice on job seeking, career planning and improving in their work. You can find up-to-date information on unemployment security on the unemployment fund Pro’s website.


We are there for you

Nearly everyone considers co-operation negotiations and the termination of employment distressing. You should not try to cope alone – get professional help open-mindedly.  Our career service includes psychological services to our members, as well as advice on job seeking and career planning issues.

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