Number of industrial actions increased in 2015
According to Statistics Finland, there were 163 industrial actions in Finland in 2015. The total number of workdays lost totalled 109,000. Last year was also an eventful one for the National Conciliator’s Office.
The number of industrial actions rose in 2015 compared to the previous year. In 2014, 128 such actions were recorded.
According to Statistics Finland, the number of legal industrial actions in 2015 was over 50% higher than normal. The larger part of this increased number of legal industrial actions is accounted for by two events: the political protest organised last autumn in opposition to the government’s planned measures and the actions taken in the postal sector during the collective bargaining negotiations.
Around a third of the industrial actions were connected with a sectoral collective agreement, either one which was about to end or one which had already expired. This figure is also higher than that of the previous year. In 2014 only one in ten industrial actions were related to collective agreements.
The figures provided by Statistics Finland also describe well the work of the National Conciliator’s Office in 2015. During that year, the Office resolved eight labour disputes covering a variety of areas: normal and multi-purpose icebreakers, aviation, the Finnish postal service and the forestry machinery sector. Nearly all these conciliation cases from last year involved either threats of sympathetic action or already implemented sympathetic actions, and according to Statistics Finland such actions were a factor in one in four industrial actions.
Far from all industrial actions are connected with suspended collective bargaining negotiations. A large number of such actions are local walkouts connected with workforce cuts in general or threats of such, work management issues or wage disputes. According to Statistics Finland, 15 percent of industrial actions are connected with workforce cuts or threats of cuts.
Industrial actions taking place while a collective agreement or administrative order is still in force do not fall within the remit of labour dispute conciliation, but instead come under the Labour Court’s jurisdiction. The figures from Statistics Finland indicate that 60 percent of strikes carried out in 2015 were illegal.
National Conciliator Minna Helle considers the number of strikes in her Verkkouutiset blog