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Collective agreements

A collective agreement is an agreement between a trade union and an employers’ association on minimum working conditions in the sector. The collective agreement negotiated by Trade Union Pro and an employers’ association defines the minimum terms and conditions of employment for employees in the sector.

Collective agreement defines minimum working conditions

A collective agreement is an agreement negotiated between an employers’ association and an employees’ association that defines the minimum terms and conditions of employment, such as salaries and time off. Your job contract follows the standards set by the collective agreement and cannot have worse conditions unless the collective agreement expressly allows such. You can naturally negotiate for a job contract with better conditions than the minimum.

Working hours and overtime pay have also been agreed upon in the collective agreement. Important elements of Pro’s collective agreements include shift differentials, travel and sick pay, maternity leave pay, holiday bonus and on-call compensation. A large portion of the provisions on collective agreements concern working hours. Examples include working hours adjustment schemes in shift work, shift pay and weekly days off.

We negotiate collective agreements with the employers’ associations in the sectors we represent. We receive the objectives of collective agreements directly from our members. Some of their wishes can be promoted in the workplace with the help of a shop steward, while others are proposals for amendments to future collective agreements.

Pro’s board of directors appoints the members of the advisory committees for a four-year term to represent large and small companies as well as different regions and genders evenly. The number of sector-specific advisory committees is equal to the number of agreements negotiated by Pro. The advisory committees are composed of active Pro members working in the sector. The advisory committees and the shop stewards’ meetings in the major sectors deal with the wishes expressed by the members. The union’s common goals are created when Pro’s board of directors highlights a total of five to six most important goals introduced by the advisory committees.

Although Finnish legislation contains provisions on working conditions, the collective agreements provide employees with more comprehensive protection and better benefits than mere legislation. For example, when deciding on pay, a universally binding collective agreement in the sector is a good backstop. An employer cannot pay less than what is agreed in the collective agreement.

There is no minimum wage in legislation. Similarly, legislation does not recognise many pay supplements and holiday bonuses. If the salary is only based on legislation, the employer decides what kind of salary they are willing to pay. Collective agreements also guarantee pay for a longer period of sick leave than the law. For the duration of maternity leave, the collective agreement guarantees a salary for three months, whilst the law does not oblige the employer to pay a salary. Unlike collective agreements, the law does not even recognise the daily allowance on business trips.

Your employment contract contains information about which collective agreement is applied in your work. You should check this every time you start in a new position.

A collective agreement is often determined by your sector rather than by your duties. For example, marketing assistants and experts work in all areas of Pro. The minimum wage, working hours, and other terms and conditions of employment depend on the sector in which the assistant, expert or supervisor works. If they work in an ICT company, their conditions of employment are determined by ICT sector’s collective agreement. If they are employed by a paper mill, their collective agreement is the one followed in the paper industry.

For more information on the collective agreement in your sector, contact the shop steward or Trade Union Pro’s employment advice service.

Safeguard refers to a regulation in a collective agreement, which allows all employees of a given workplace to receive a general salary raise if it is not possible to agree about them locally.  In other words safeguard enables all employees to get the raise they deserve if there is no other way to reach an agreement on how the money should be distributed. 

Nuori mies, puhelin

Do you have any questions about collective agreements?

For more information on the collective agreement in your sector, contact the shop steward or Trade Union Pro’s employment advice service.

You can affect the terms of your employment by joining a union

Legislation often has to fit the needs of very different employment sectors and therefore remains at a general level. Collective agreements, on the other hand, are tailored for each sector or workplace. They take better account of the specific needs of each sector than legislation.

The construction of a new collective agreement begins at the grass-roots level, the workplace. The union listens to the wishes of the members and forms the negotiating objectives.

If you do not belong to a union, you cannot influence what kind of issues are included in the collective agreement.

The collective agreements negotiated by Trade Union Pro give you better conditions than the minimum standard set by the law.
As a Pro member, you can influence the conditions under which you work.
The more members we have, the more weight our word carries.

Are you wondering how to proceed?

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