What is meant by a period without an agreement?
A period without an agreement starts, when the collective agreement period comes to an end, and a new agreement between the workers’ and employers sides has not yet been reached.
During a period without an agreement there is no obligation of good labour relations. Industrial action, such as strikes, overtime bans and lock-outs by employers, are possible – and if the period is prolonged, they are also likely.
During a period without an agreement the provisions of the previous collective agreement are applied until a new collective agreement has been finalised.
What happens if a new collective agreement is not negotiated before the previous agreement ends?
1. Collective agreement ends
Negotiations can continue after the agreement ends. If negotiations do not progress or are cut off, PAM's Executive Board can issue a notice of industrial action. The action can be a strike or other actions. Under the law, a strike notice must be issued at least two weeks before the strike starts.
2. Mandatory conciliation
Having received the notice of industrial action, the National Conciliator begins to mediate in the labour dispute. PAM and the employers' federation must participate in the mediation. The National Conciliator aims to give a mediation proposal to avoid a strike. The mediation proposal does not have to be accepted.
3. Strike to put pressure on employers
PAM’s Executive Committee decides when a strike starts and how long it will last. A strike starts if no agreement has been reached before then. Employees stop work at the strike sites when the strike starts and return to work when the strike ends. Employers can declare lockouts, where organised labour is not allowed to do work during the lockout at those sites.
4. Mediation proposal
The National Conciliator’s job is to may make a mediation proposal. In PAM, the proposal is considered by the relevant Agreement Sector Commission and recommends either approving or rejecting it. PAM’s Executive Committee makes the final decision. The employers’ federation’s governing bodies also consider the mediation proposal. If one of the parties rejects it, the mediation proposal lapses.
5. New collective agreement
A new collective agreement comes about when both parties have approved either an outcome of negotiations reached without industrial action or a mediation proposal by the National Conciliator. The new collective agreement specifies pay rises, among other things.
The collective agreement guarantees workers minimum terms of employment, and the employer gets good labour relations. During the period of the agreement no strike action is allowed on matters related to the agreement.