The National Conciliator is an official with the task of mediating the disputes in the labour market. For example, the Conciliator makes proposals of conciliation in situations where the Union and the employer organisation cannot find an understanding on the contents of the collective agreement. Moreover, the National Conciliator should promote the functioning of the labour market.
The Conciliator is responsible for trying to look for a solution in the dispute. The Conciliator invites the negotiating parties to sit around a joint table.
If the industrial action is deemed to cause unreasonable inconvenience or it targets vital functions of society, the National Conciliator can propose that the industrial action be postponed by 14 days. The decision is made by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
It is obligatory to participate in the conciliation upon invitation, and the Conciliator sets the pace. The Conciliator chairs the meetings and steers the manner and order of discussion of the disputed items. The aim of the Conciliator is then to conduct the parties to an understanding, mainly on the basis of their respective proposals and offers.
If a Union or employer organisation is planning industrial action – such as a strike or lockout – it must inform the National Conciliator’s Office of such circumstances two weeks before the planned beginning of the action. At that point, the National Conciliator must take measures to mediate the dispute. The National Conciliator may also take initiative if informed of a labour dispute that could jeopardise industrial peace, in other words cause strikes or lockouts or similar.
The National Conciliator will invite the parties to the labour dispute to sit down round a table for mediation. It is obligatory to participate in the conciliation process. Having heard the parties, the Conciliator normally drafts a proposal of conciliation aimed to solve the dispute. Both parties will discuss the proposal within the timeframe set by the Conciliator, either approving or dismissing the proposal.
Normally, the National Conciliator also assesses the general situation when making the proposal for conciliation. Therefore, issues such as the wage level of the proposal are impacted by the agreements already made in the labour market.
The National Conciliator is a government official under the umbrella of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, appointed by the Government of Finland. The National Conciliator is also the head of the respective Office, located in Helsinki, at Bulevardi. Since 2015, the National Conciliator is Minna Helle.