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18.01.2023 19:14

PAM aiming for pay rise in line with German industry level in commerce sector collective agreement negotiations

Last week, Service Union United PAM and the Finnish Commerce Federation as the employers’ representative began negotiations on collective agreements and pay in the commerce sector. PAM’s Executive Committee has set out the union’s aim in the negotiations as wage rises in line with the increases achieved in German industry.

Apteekkialan järjestöjen mukaan lääkeasioiden uudistuksen tulee tähdätä järkevään ja vaikuttavaan lääkehoitoon

Collective agreement and wage negotiations are being conducted in the commerce sector at a time when productivity in the sector has increased rapidly in recent years and is many times the productivity increases in industry. At the same time, however, higher inflation means that commerce sector employees’ purchasing power has dropped back to 2014 levels. That’s why PAM is aiming for wage rises that secure employees’ purchasing power.

“PAM considers that workers both deserve and need a pay rise as the cost of living rises. We have set out our aim in the negotiating round as wage rises in line with German industry, as part of a pay alliance made up of SAK trade unions. In practical terms this would mean pay rises of around 200 euros a month for commerce sector workers”, says PAM President Annika Rönni-Sällinen.

Rönni-Sällinen stresses that the pay rises would be a way for employers to show responsibility so their employees can cope and have a secure everyday existence in difficult times. She also points out that commerce sector companies can afford to pay wages: the largest companies in the sector have posted record results in recent years. Whereas Covid has meant uncertainty for workers, companies in the sector have mostly fared excellently.

“Cost increases haven’t eaten into business margins; actually it’s been the opposite. We consider that the sector can afford pay rises. It’s also about fairness and being responsible. It’s right for employees to get their fair share of the good results businesses have been racking up. And the success of commerce sector enterprises is largely down to their employees and the work they do”, Rönni-Sällinen argues.

In addition to wage rises, PAM wants the negotiations to deliver improvements in the contents of the commerce collective agreement. These include improving the status of part-time workers, improvements to pay criteria, promoting wellbeing at work and improvements to the way elected representatives operate.

“Up to 45% of retail employees work part-time. Half of them haven’t chosen to work part-time. Part-time wages are often not enough to live on. Supplementing incomes you can’t live on with social security is taxpayer-funded business support”, Rönni-Sällinen says.

The current collective agreements and labour relations commitment run to 31 January 2023. You can follow the progress of the collective agreement negotiations on PAM’s website here.