Reform Brings Agreeing on Employment Terms up to Date

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation is withdrawing from collective bargaining, and the terms of employment in forest industries are being negotiated at company- and/or product line level. Companies in the industry can now agree with their personnel on pay and all the terms of employment, over which agreement is not restricted by law.

The change will be completed in the end of 2022 as the last existing national level collective agreement negotiated by the FFIF expires.

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation is responsible for the currently valid collective agreements until their expiry, at the latest until the end of 2022.

The companies plan and devise new ways of agreeing based on their own approaches and respect their employees’ right of organisation. The employees’ freedom of association or trade union activities will not be affected by the reform.

The reform is based on the Finnish Forest Industries Federation's long-term goal to restructure and develop the terms of employment in forest industries. This goal has not been met over recent federation - union level negotiation rounds nor during the previous centralized negotiation system. The nationwide, generic contract system responds poorly to the needs of companies’ varying market and economic situations, their various business areas, and of individual mills.

For a long time Finland's rigid labour market system has needed reforms that would benefit all parties. Current legislation, the labour market system, national level collective agreements and practices for the local bargaining system simply do not meet the needs of companies facing global competition and development in working life. This has been known for along period of time, but the necessary changes in labour laws and collective bargaining systems have not been made. Now is the time to make structural changes.

The power of interest groups is transferred to the employees and the companies in company-level agreements. The idea of company-specific terms of employment is simple: when working conditions are adapted to the situation of a company, a factory or a product or business line / area, they can better take into account the prevailing market and business situations. At best, company-level terms of employment safeguard jobs, secure investments and speed up business growth.

The needs of employees can also be better taken into account in company-level negotiations, whereas the present national collective agreements bind every company in the same way.