In a strike, the workers stop working. The aim of the strike is to exercise pressure on the employer or employer's organisation or influence society. The Finnish Constitution guarantees citizens freedom of association and assembly and the right to strike. A strike is therefore a lawful form of industrial action.
In PAM it is the Executive Committee that leads collective bargaining activities. Therefore, the decision to start and end a strike is made by the PAM Executive Committee. Strikes are by their nature collective actions. So, an individual employee may not decide alone to go on strike.
When the collective agreement terminates, the Union (PAM) and the respective sectoral employer organisation start to negotiate on a new collective agreement. The termination of the collective agreement also marks the end of the so-called industrial peace commitment. This means that industrial actions, such as the strike, are allowed.
Unless the parties find a mutual understanding about a new agreement during their negotiations, the Union can issue a strike warning. The employer organisation and the National Conciliators' Office must be notified about the strike no later than two weeks before it starts. In this notice, the Union communicates the reason for the strike and defines the work, times and places covered by the strike.
The National Conciliator will launch the conciliation process with the aim of finding a solution for the dispute. When a new agreement has been reached, the industrial peace commitment goes into effect.
During the strike, the employer does not, of course, pay the wages of those on strike. But normally, the Union pays the so-called strike pay to the workers on strike. The employer has no right to discriminate against the employees that have taken part in the strike.
Besides strikes connected to your own collective agreement, there are sympathy strikes and political strikes. A sympathy strike is about supporting the industrial action in another sector, while a political strike aims at exercising impact on a societal issue. Sympathy strikes and political strikes are lawful even when there is a valid collective agreement in the sector.