Collective bargaining in the financial sector has been ongoing since November 2019. So far there have been fourteen negotiating sessions, but the negotiations have not progressed in the desired way.
The employers’ association Service Sector Employers Palta has undertaken to comply with the line adopted by export industries in their agreements and pay increase levels in all of Palta’s collective agreement sectors. In the early stages of the negotiations, Palta first waited for the industry sector’s head start agreement and, after that, other sectors’ solutions on the compensation for working hours under the Competitiveness Pact. Employer coordination has been more important for Palta throughout the negotiations than solving sectoral needs at the negotiating table.
Palta wants to allocate at least half of the financial sector’s pay increases via pay discussions
In the pay discussion model, the employer has, in practice, the power to decide who will and who will not be given an increase. This means that a significant proportion of employees will not receive this part of the pay increase. At the same time, Palta would not raise the minimum wages of the wage tables with this part of the pay increase.
Palta’s views of the structure of the pay increase differ significantly from the general line of the industrial sector where the share of the general increase has been 2.7% and the share of the local wage item (decided by the employer) has been 0.6% of the 3.3% total increase. Based on economists’ predictions, employees who do not receive the pay discussion element under the pay increase structure pursued by Palta will face a decline in their purchasing power during the contract period.
Unio Trade Union seeks purchasing power and salary development for its members
Unio Trade Union seeks pay increases for its members to secure their purchasing power, as well as salary development to better correspond to the increase in the demands of work in the financial sector. In order to support this objective, we have compiled a proposal for a pay programme spanning several years, for taking into account parts of tasks that are more demanding than the main task, and for taking into account the impact of competence development on pay.
Employer demands numerous impairments
The removal of unpaid working hours under the Competitiveness Pact, in Palta’s view, calls for numerous impairments in the Collective Agreement for the Financial Sector. Palta proposes that the hours of work carried out in addition to regular working hours and the hours spent on professional training will be increased by a total of 24 hours a year. According to employers, this could be implemented through various alternative combinations of changes to working hours, such as extra work outside regular working hours, removing days off specified in the collective labour agreement and extending working hours on Maundy Thursday and New Year’s Eve.
In addition to these changes in working hours, employers want, among other things, to change the way periods of notice are agreed upon, restrict the right to industrial action, weaken the regulations concerning the payment of salaries during illness, shorten the negotiation period of cooperation negotiations when reducing staff, and remove pay discussions from employment relationships of less than 6 months.
It is clear that employers in the financial sector are observing an exceptionally tough employer line
It is clear that employers in the financial sector are observing an exceptionally tough employer line in the negotiations, even significantly tougher than industrial employers. They want to charge a heavier price for abandoning the working hours covered by the Competitiveness Pact in the female-dominated banking sector than in male-dominated industrial sectors.
Despite our best efforts, negotiations have not progressed in the way we hoped.
This is why
Unio Trade Union, Trade Union Pro and the Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff YTN (which includes Professionals of Business and Technology, the Association of Finnish Lawyers, Finnish Business School Graduates, the YTY Association for Managers and Professionals, the Union of Professional Engineers in Finland, etc.)
have decided to put in place an overtime ban in the financial sector, starting at 8 a.m. on Thursday 27 February in order to speed up negotiations.
What do overtime ban, flexitime ban and the ban on travelling for business during leisure time mean in practice?
The overtime ban is in effect from Thursday 27 February at 8 a.m. until further notice.
During the overtime ban:
- Work must be carried out within regular working hours.
- No overtime or extra work shall be done.
- There shall be no travelling for business during leisure time.
- When working according to individual working hours, the work shift schedule must be followed and no changes to it shall be agreed upon.
- Work shift schedules that have already been confirmed must not be changed at the employer’s request.
- Being on stand-by also falls under the overtime ban. If a prior agreement for being on stand-by has been made and fixed compensation is paid for it, phone calls should be answered but no other work tasks or overtime work should be performed.
- Credit from flexible working hours must not be used to make the working day longer (although you can use the hours you have accrued to work shorter days). Within the flexitime system, the employee themselves always decides how long their working day is within the limits of flexitime. In other words, employees must not exceed the normal daily and weekly hours.
- Training shall only be attended during regular working hours.
- No problems shall arise to a person taking part in the overtime ban due to their participation. This is a question of industrial action executed by a trade association. Participating in the overtime ban is legal, because all employees, whether they belong to a trade union or not, always have the right to refuse overtime work. Performing overtime work always requires the employee’s consent, according to section 17 of the Working Hours Act.
Compliance with the overtime ban throughout the financial sector is crucial for bank employees’ salary development, for retaining the days and hours that currently fall under time off and for salary payment during absence due to illness.
The purpose of keeping employees overtime is to make up for missing and previously reduced human resources.
By complying with the overtime ban, the message we are sending to the management of the banks is that sufficient salary to live on must be paid for work in the financial sector, without having to work overtime or, at worst, work several jobs.
The next negotiation meeting will take place on Monday 2 March.