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Local agreement - 24.03.2021 klo 12.05

Resetting the balance in local agreement

For local agreement to succeed, it takes active employees and trust between the negotiators, thinks PAM’s Collective Agreement Manager, Ismo Kokko. Photo: Eeva Anundi

The employer is in a stronger position at the workplace and that’s why the position of the shop steward must be secured, says PAM’s Collective Agreement Manager, Ismo Kokko.

Should ordinary employees be interested in local agreement? According to PAM’s Collective Agreement Manager Ismo Kokko, they should, because going forward employment conditions will likely be set more through local agreements.

Is PAM against local agreement?
“No, agreement in itself is a good thing. Local agreement is a good practice if, for instance, a company is doing well and they want to pay their employees more than the pay scales. But PAM opposes attempts to weaken the position of employees and the trade union movement. Employees’ negotiating power comes from acting together. The more employees are split into smaller groups, the weaker we employees are as negotiating partners.”

In surveys employees reckon that employers have more power in local agreements than employees have. Do we need to reset the balance?
“Yes we do. Employers have an advantage because they generally have better background information and the right to interpret. Employees’ negotiators should have access to the same information. The position of shop stewards should be strengthened, and to make agreements they should be backed up by larger numbers of employees.

Since the government is promoting local agreement, what is important for PAM?
“This issue should be advanced through collective agreements, in line with the government programme. If is the aim is for more local agreement, the position of shop stewards should be strengthened and more workplaces should be enabled to appoint a shop steward.”

Read about how local negotiations are handled at Kesko’s warehouse (in Finnish).