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27.03.2018 14:35

An agreement finally in the financial services sector

A strike in the financial services sector was avoided at the eleventh hour. The parties reached an agreement on the new collective agreement on the evening before the first three days work stoppage in banks was due to begin.

The negotiations for a new collective agreement in the financial services sector have been going on since October last year. The existing collective agreement had ended back in November.

The crux of the dispute has been weekend work. Both parties are now ready to open up more possibilities for banks to provide service also at the weekends.

Trade Union Pro, which organises employees in the banking sector, wanted to organise it in accordance with local company level agreements and on a voluntary basis.

In February, the Union canvassed its members and found that 40 per cent of their banking sector members were willing to work at weekends also if it is organised in a such a way that strikes a balance between work and private life.

The employers were not satisfied with this and demanded unilateral and full control over working hours, including weekends.

The deadlock negotiations had already led to short work stoppages in December and January.

Recently, Trade Union Pro and Trade Union Nousu, which organise employees at Nordea Bank warned that three short strikes at the OP Financial Group, Nordea Bank and Danske Bank along with several other banks were set to take place in March and April.

On voluntary basis

The National Conciliator Minna Helle has acted as a mediator in the dispute since December. On Sunday 25 march both parties accepted her new proposal. The new agreement stipulates that weekend work will be agreed, in the main, according to local negotiations.

The employer must give a detailed proposal to introduce weekend work to the shop steward at least nine weeks in advance, should the parties fail to agree on a shorter time.

Saturday and Sunday work will be conducted mainly on a voluntary basis. If there are not enough employees willing to sign up to this, the employer can then, with some restrictions, order employees to work at the weekend.

When there are compelling reasons for not being able to work weekends an employee has the right to say no to weekend work.

Work on Saturdays offers a 50 per cent increase in pay, and work on Sundays a 100 per cent increase.

"We got the employers to come to their senses that they must negotiate over weekend work", says Antti Hakala, Director of the Finance Sector in Trade Union Pro. "Every wise employer will now have to agree with the shop steward when it comes to weekend work."

Hakala stresses that the goal of Trade Union Pro has consistently been that weekend work must be voluntary and take into account the personal life situation of employees. This agreement guarantees it.

The agreement also set a pay rise. It follows the general line agreed in the other collective agreements in this round of negotiations.

Helsinki 27 March 2018 by Heikki Jokinen

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