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UJF and Akava Special Branches approve conciliation deal on AV translation companies

The UJF and Akava Special Branches last week accepted the conciliation proposal of the National Conciliator, narrowly averting strike action by self-employed, or freelance, translators in the AV translation sector, scheduled for 15-16 February.

The proposal includes a change to the name of the collective agreement, replacing the term translation agencies with translation companies, updating and giving it a wider scope of application that depicts the transformation and expansion of business operations in the AV translation sector into translation service companies.

The new collective agreement covers the period 1 February 2019 to 31 January 2020, and includes a 1% general pay increase from 1 April this year.

The new agreement would attend to the coping on the job of commission-paid or time-paid freelance employees. The employer will be responsible for employees’ occupational health and safety at all times.

Particular attention would be paid to the coping on the job, the pace of work and workload of time-paid freelance employees. For commission-paid freelance translators, the agreement will limit the number of lines of AV text to be translated to a maximum of 250 lines for first translations and 300 for second translations (the latter being for programmes previously translated and timed).

The agreement does not aim to resolve the disagreement between the employees’ and employers’ sides concerning the procurement pricing of AV work done freelance in relation to that done by regular employees. The National Conciliator said that this is a matter that should be subject to new legislation, including within the framework of EU competition law.

UJF head of advocacy Petri Savolainen commented: “There must be a change of legislation. We call on the current and forthcoming government to urgently prepare an amendment that would enable collective bargaining for self-employed people – so-called virtual entrepreneurs – dependent on a client. This would require a new resolution by EU ministers.

“The current situation is quite unusual because its precisely the working conditions of the most disadvantaged and those with the lowest earnings that cannot be settled by a collective agreement,” said Savolainen.

“The matter will fall to the next government because of the EU directive on [transparent and predictable] working conditions,” said Helena Lamponen, director of advocacy at Akava Special Branches.

“This will involve expanding the definition of an employee in the Finnish Employment Contracts Act.”