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Strike notice served in AV translators’ dispute

The UJF and Akava Special Branches have issued the National Conciliator and translation agencies with a strike notice by audiovisual translators. This is the first time in Finland that self-employed workers would strike.

The UJH and Akava Special Branches issued the strike notice on 1 February following the failure of talks on a new collective bargaining agreement. The main sticking point is over the self-employed workers’ client-dependent fees, which the employers’ side does not want included in the new collective agreement.

The work stoppage will begin 15 February at 13.00 and end 24 hours later.

The strike will affect duties included in the collective agreement for AV translation agencies under all AV translation companies, excluding Saga Veraa. The strike will also not affect AV translation work done at the Finnish Broadcasting Company. The dispute does not relate to any work concerned with people’s safety or health.

The current collective agreement ended on 31 January, prior to which no consensus could be reached on the content of the new agreement. While freelance or self-employed translators can negotiate fees with individual clients, when they work for translation agencies they have no such bargaining power.

“The issue of purchasing fees is fundamental in terms of the livelihood of AV translators, as at present about 80% of AV translators to not have the possibility to influence translation prices,” explains the head of advocacy at the UJF Petri Savolainen.

“More widely, it is also an issue of the dependence of self-employed people on their clients, the right of virtual entrepreneurs to collective bargaining, says Akava Special Branches advocacy director Helena Lamponen.

The Competition Act does not prevent self-employed people who are dependent on a client from contractual bargaining as so-called virtual entrepreneurs, though this is generally claimed. According to a preliminary ruling of the European Court of Justice, they are comparable to salaried employees.

The disputed agreement is a collective agreement between the UJF, Akava Special Branches and a number of AV translation agencies, including BTl Studios, BTI Studios Finland, Pre-Text, Rosmerlnternational and Saga Vera Oy.