PAM President Ann Selin: Bargaining stems from trust
Ann Selin, President of Service Union United PAM, outlined PAM’s objectives for the upcoming collective agreement negotiations. She considers that the starting point for negotiations is to achieve an atmosphere of trust.
– For labour market organisations, bargaining is based on trust. In recent years, employees have agreed to collective settlements geared towards improving the competitiveness of the country and businesses. While our trust has sometimes been tested, we have still remained confident that employees will receive their own share, once the economy starts to pick up, says Selin.
– Now’s the time to deliver on this trust, as we start negotiating pay rises and terms and conditions of employment.
Selin expects employers to be willing to improve the quality of life of their employees, as well as the attractiveness of their sectors.
–We trust that employers will want their own personnel to live a life with pay that is enough to make a decent living. In an atmosphere of trust, we’ll be able to seek solutions to this income problem that is undermining our sectors.
–In addition to pay rises, solutions also include increasing the working hours of part-time employees by means such as developing systems for additional work and stabilising working hours. The issue can also be tackled through reforming pay systems,Selin explains.
The reputation of service sector workplaces worries Selin. She also expects trust when increasing the attractiveness of the sectors.
– We also trust the employers to want to improve the reputation of service sectors. After all, it’s clear that reputation contributes to the willingness of skilled workers to enter these sectors and, as a result, it also contributes to the success of the sectors.
– I don’t believe that employers would want the reputation of service sectors to be built on poor employment relationships and low wages, which tax payers need to offset through income transfers. It’s not old-fashioned to assume that everyone should be able to earn enough to make ends meet, states Selin.
In Selin’s opinion, improving the sectors’ reputation and increasing their attractiveness start from increasing pay levels, which can be done through immediate pay increases or sectoral earnings development programmes. She also thinks that other steps are required as well.
– In addition to pay, satisfaction at the workplace and increasing employees’ opportunities to have their say contribute to increasing attractiveness. These things will become even more pronounced in a society that is open 24/7.
Attractiveness is also influenced by the experiences gained by students studying for a service sector occupation during their work-based learning periods. Selin also expects to find a shared vision on development of work-based learning.
– As a result of vocational education and training reform, the amount of on-the-job learning will increase, which means that the numbers of students at workplaces will also grow. In order for students to gain positive experiences from learning on the job, it is necessary to create better ground rules for how to instruct students at workplaces and how to guarantee adequate chances for employees to provide instruction, Selin outlines.
An atmosphere of trust is also required for local bargaining at the workplace. Selin underlines the significant role of personnel in developing working communities.
– Local bargaining at workplaces is also based on trust, which is born out of interaction and the shared perception among all members of the community that their work is important and that they have a say about their work and about how their workplace operates. It’s only through development of interaction that we will be able to achieve a workplace atmosphere that creates conditions for developing local bargaining at workplaces, Selin emphasises.
– Interaction can be promoted as part of collective negotiations by means such as expanding the rights of personnel representatives while increasing their competencies and access to information.
Selin expects that the upcoming collective negotiations will be carried out in the spirit of trust and co-operation.
– Our aim is to build trust on which we can jointly develop the living conditions and livelihoods of employees working in our sectors, while also improving the success of these sectors. However, we know what will happen if there’s no trust or if trust is betrayed. We are also ready for this eventuality, because many of the employers’ words and actions, as well as the things left undone, have been nibbling away at our trust.
– We believe that building an atmosphere of trust is, however, a common goal for all labour market organisations, says Selin.
Ann Selin, President of Service Union United PAM, opened up the collective agreement objectives outlined by PAM’s Executive Committee at a gathering of Union staff in Helsinki on 21 September 2017.
Item first published in Finnish on 21 September 2017.