On the 31st of March 2020, a new Collective Agreement for the financial sector was achieved after the parties involved accepted the negotiation result brought about last week. The negotiations were difficult right from the start and, towards the end, took place remotely. When the corona crisis hit Finland, achieving an agreement without delay became important for all parties.
The Collective Agreement will be valid for 25 months and includes an agreement on pay increases of 3.3% for the agreement period in line with other sectors in the country.
Pay increases will take place for the first time from the 1st of May 2020 with a 1.2% across-the-board rise.
In 2021, pay increases will take place starting on the 1st of May 2021 with a 0.45% across-the-board rise and a 1.65% pay discussion element. A different date for the pay discussion element may be agreed locally. Salaries will be developed to better correspond to the increase in the difficulty of the work in the sector.
”The difficulty of the work carried out in the financial sector has increased significantly since the qualification categorisation was compiled for the collective agreement. It is important to develop salaries in this sector so that they better correspond to today’s requirements. For this reason, full increases of minimum wages, raising the lowest salaries and paying pay discussion salary increases on top of the pay grade table rise are steps in the right direction. Work will be continued as team work during the agreement period,” says trade union Chairman Kari Ahola.
Unpaid voluntary work will be removed from the financial sector’s Collective Agreement on the 1st of July 2020 when the necessary system changes have been implemented. The impairments sought by employers, for example, to salary payment during absence due to illness, extra days off and the lengthening of working hours on Maundy Thursday and New Year’s Eve were successfully prevented.
In the new Collective Agreement, investments in the competence development of the entire personnel were agreed on. In future, a maximum of 24 hours a calendar year can be used for training in addition to regular working hours, within certain limits. These additional hours will be added to regular working hours and basic hourly wage will be paid for them, without an increment for inconvenient working hours or other bonuses.
“The investments to be made in competence development will give everyone the opportunity for continuous learning and training in an ever-changing work environment. The practical arrangements for developing competence also take into account the considerations of matching work and private life. In this regard, the stipulations of the new Collective Agreement are exceptionally good, compared to other sectors,” says Ahola.
You can find more detailed information about the contents of the Collective Agreement in Unio’s member bulletin.
For more information contact:
Chairman Kari Ahola, tel. +358 (0)50 324 1458
Executive Director Minna Ahtiainen, tel. +358 (0)50 387 7030
The content of the outcome of the negotiations will be communicated once it has been discussed by the administrations of all parties.
Collective agreement in the financial sector applies to banks and financial and card companies. It covers about 20,000 people.
Unio Trade Union, Trade Union Pro and the Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff YTN are suspending the overtime ban in place in the financial sector, effective immediately. Clerical workers in the financial sector are some of the key workers required to keep society’s key functions running, as declared by the Finnish Government on Tuesday the 17th of March.
Collective bargaining in the financial sector has been ongoing since November 2019. So far, there have been close to twenty meeting for negotiations. Despite the regular negotiation meetings, no agreement has been reached, which is why the unions decided to start a ban on overtime work, flexitime and travelling for business during leisure time, starting on the 27th of February. The validity of the collective labour agreement ended on the 31st of January 2020. The agreement is generally binding and covers almost 20,000 employees.
Due to the progression of the coronavirus and the state of emergency, the unions have decided today to suspend the overtime ban. The objective is to ensure that customer services in banks work as well as the emergency conditions allow and that the needs of special groups with no access to electronic services are looked after.
The effective operation of the financial sector requires that its employees’ continued health and ability to work are ensured also during the state of emergency. In this crisis, the unions demand employers in the financial sector to make arrangements to ensure that employees are able to stay as healthy as possible at work.
The unions are actively monitoring the situation and its development and calling for employers to demonstrate responsibility in their actions in a concrete way during these exceptional circumstances.
The most central disagreements during the negotiations have involved the division of pay increases as regards across-the-board rises and the pay discussion element. Employee organisations have demanded pay rises in line with other sectors in the country, but bank employers have refused to accede to this.
Kari Ahola, President, Unio Trade Union, tel. +358 50 324 1458
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.
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 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.
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 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.