Know your Rights

About the Collective Bargaining at the Universities. The Collective agreement for the Universities ends January 31. If the collective bargaining has not been able to produce a new collective agreement, the universities will enter a period in which there is no valid contract in place.

However, the previous collective agreement will be followed for the most part also during this time period. If no agreement has not been reached before the end of January, there is also a possibility of a strike/ industrial action. The strike warning must be given 14 days prior to the strike and it may be postponed for two weeks. So, the earliest a strike could begin February 14. During a strike employees would basically not be allowed to work at the universities. Should a strike occur, there would be information available at the trade unions’ websites and also JUKO’s website. It it advisable that all university employees stay tuned to the information given by the trade unions.

The main question in the collective bargaining at this time has been the renewal of the salary system. The employer has tried to rush a new system into the new collective agreement under a very short period of time. In the new system the employer would have a much more control over the salary raises and they would be decided more locally in the future. It is still unclear how this new system proposed by the employer would benefit the university employees.

On the employees’ side, main questions have been bettering the employees’ representatives position (the shop-stewards and the work safety representatives for the employees); allowing more work hours to be used for their representative duties and also receiving better compensation. Also establishing better description of teaching hours and the teaching hour roofs and the vast number of fixed-term contracts at the universities are topics brought up by the employees’ side.

The trade unions will inform their members when a new collective agreement has been reached. Also the trade unions will inform their members of possible changes or alterations to the collective agreement, as well as salary raises.

text Mia Weckman
lawyer, the Finnish union of university researchers and teachers

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