Representatives of employer associations and worker trade unions said Friday that they had reached a settlement in an industrial dispute over a new collective bargaining agreement, averting a strike that would have shut doors at some supermarkets.
"We have reached a negotiated settlement today on a collective agreement for the retail sector. The details will be revealed if the boards [on both sides] accept the outcome. Association boards will meet this afternoon," Services workers' union PAM chair Annika Rönni-Sällinen tweeted on Friday.
If accepted by governing bodies on both sides, the deal will avert strike action that was due to begin next week, disrupting logistical operations at supermarkets and halting maintenance and other work in the real estate sector.
The threatened strike would have involved nearly 50,000 workers and would have effectively shut down duopoly retailer S Group’s Prisma hypermarkets as well as its logistics centres in Sipoo and Kerava in southern Finland.
Extra unpaid hours a stumbling block
Workers in the real estate service sector also planned to down tools in regions such as Lapland, Kainuu in eastern Finland, central Finland and Ostrobothnia in the west.
Meanwhile an overtime ban had already been in effect since 4 February at logistics firms Inex Partners, affecting distribution centres run by the other major food retail chain, Kesko, as well as the German market challenger Lidl.
The union had been in discussions on a new collective bargaining agreement with retail sector employer lobby, the Finnish Commerce Federation and the Real Estate Employers association.
However PAM’s governing body suspended the negotiations at the end of January, when the previous collective agreement expired.
PAM said it decided to abandon the talks because they had not progressed. According to Rönni-Sällinen, employer representatives were reluctant to negotiate sticking points such as the contentious “kiky” hours – 24 hours of additional annual unpaid work tacked on to collective agreements by Juha Sipilä’s competitiveness pact in 2016.