In a strike, the employees stop working, mostly to exercise pressure on the employer. A strike is a lawful form of industrial action. The Finnish Constitution guarantees citizens freedom of association and assembly and the right to strike.
The decision on the strike is made by the Union. An individual employee may not decide alone to go on strike. Normally, the Union pays the so-called strike pay to the employees on strike. The employer has no right to discriminate against the employees that have taken part in the strike.
The Union can declare a lawful strike when it wishes to influence the employer organisation and convince it to enter into a collective agreement in the sector. The strike may be limited regionally or in terms of time, or it can apply to the entire agreement sector.
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. During the strike, the employer does not, of course, pay the wages of those on strike.
The National Conciliator will launch the conciliation process with the aim of finding a solution for the dispute.
Sympathy strikes and political strikes are also lawful during the period of validity of the collective agreement in the sector concerned. The sympathy strike is about supporting the industrial action in another sector while the political strike aims at exercising impact on a societal issue.