Normal salary raises and a lot of text changes in the new agreement

May 5, 2011: The Union of Journalists in Finland has, after a very tough bargaining lasting for over a month, endorsed a new collective agreement for journalists in the printed press.

The agreement covers some 5 000 employed members in newspapers, magazines and news agencies, and is thus the largest single collective agreement of the Union. The Finnish union has some 16 000 members, of which some 9 000 are employed.

The new 2-year agreement will raise salaries altogether about 5% in three installments. The first general raise 1,5% comes right away from May 1st on, the second lot to be negotiated locally 1,1%-1,5% from Jan 1 2012, and the third 2,2% general raise May 1 2012.

The second lot will be 1,5% of the September salary cake if the sharing of the lot can be agreed locally, if not agreed, it will become a 1,1% general raise for all. Together with the local lot, the minimum salaries and trainee salaries will be raised 1,1%, and shift compensations 5,2%.

The salary raise level has been considered acceptable under the general conditions.

A good part of the beef in the agreement lies in the exceptionally long list of text changes. The Finnish Union proposed and got through many small, and some bigger, changes meant to help in coping with changes in work after the loss of some 500 jobs in print journalism during the last 2-3 years.

The deputy of a better paid position gets compensation from the first day on, instead of the previous five days. Better vacation bonuses for those temporary substitutes who hop in when needed were agreed, as well as a 6 day paternity leave (at last), clarifications in sick leaves and other short leaves of absence, and other details.

As part of the 24 page signed protocol on the changes in the collective agreement, also gives better rights for shop stewards to have information and also better compensation for them and workers safety representatives for their work.