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UJF preparing to apply ‘competitiveness pact’

The union will be negotiating this spring on the application of new competitiveness rules in its collective agreements. The rules will affect most areas covered by the agreements.

The competitiveness pact was agreed last year following government demands that employee and employer organisations ensure that labour unit costs will be cut. This is to take place within the terms of a ‘social contract’, agreed as an alternative to the government using legislation to impose mandatory cuts amounting to €1,5-billion.

The UJF is now gearing up for talks on how the collective bargaining agreements it handles for its members will incorporate the requirements of the competitiveness pact.

The pact seeks, among other things, to freeze pay increases next year and increase annual employee working time by 24 hours. The aim is to improve the country’s competitive clout by reducing labour costs and boosting growth and job creation.

UJF head of advocacy Petri Savolainen points out that because the union does not belong to the labour confederations it has more room for manoeuvre than their member unions.

But the UJF will have to deal with the main focal points of the competitiveness pact, and most other collective agreements concerning the media will come within the scope of the pact.

“The pact’s core points concern the increase in working times and pay agreements,” said Savolainen.

The targeted increase in working hours will amount to a lengthening of the working day by six minutes. The talks on the collective agreements handled by the UJF will try to work out what this will mean in practice.

Unions have until the end of May to decide on how to incorporate the terms of the pact in their collective agreements.

“The UJF Council will meet 26-27 May. The aim is that at least by then a contractual solution concerning the press can be dealt with by the Council,” said Savolainen.