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Negotiations on universities’ collective agreements continued on Friday: key role of shop stewards in local bargaining stressed

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The negotiations on the collective agreement for approximately 34,000 university employees continued on 18 February.

– We began discussing the role of shop stewards and the related provisions in the collective agreement, Katja Aho, head of collective bargaining at JUKO, says.

Aho points out that the collective agreement guarantees the universities broad opportunities for bargaining on working conditions locally, at a university level, and that shop stewards’ skills and the time they spend fulfilling their duties also benefit employers.

– However, local bargaining is only effective when shop stewards have enough time for it. Because the employer also benefits from the shop steward’s work, we believe that extra hours spent on shop steward duties serve everyone’s interest.

JUKO stresses that the broad opportunities for local bargaining require shop stewards to have, in addition to extra time for the task, increased rights for receiving information.

JUKO, the Pro Trade Union and the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL are also aiming for better pay and more secure careers, as well as a longer period of protection when facing dismissal.

The negotiations will continue on 3 March.

What is agreed in the collective agreements?

Salary earners' organisations and employers' organisations negotiate a number of employment regulations that are not included in Finnish law. In the negotiations, salary increases, working time and holiday regulations are agreed upon, for example.

The agreements define a minimum level of terms of employment. It is always possible to agree on even better terms in a local, more specific agreement.

Collective agreements include qualitative and monetary benefits. Negotiations usually proceed by first addressing the qualitative objectives and their potential cost implications, and only finally agreeing on salaries as part of the whole.

What is JUKO?

JUKO is the negotiation organisation for employees in the public field. As the main negotiating authority for municipalities, the state, the church and universities, JUKO promotes the interests of more than 200,000 highly educated employees and supervisors. They have 3,900 employee representatives. 

The people conducting JUKO's negotiations are experts from TEK and other Akava unions. JUKO negotiates with employers' representatives.

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