Finland - Lockout in food industry debated - April 27, 2010

The labour dispute in the food industry continued. On Monday 26 April, the Finnish Food Workers’ Union (SEL) rejected a mediation proposal put forward by National Conciliator Esa Lonka. The union claimed the proposal lacked crucial improvements and undermined benefits. ETL, the employers’ association, approved the proposal and began a lockout affecting around 18,000 union workers at 235 establishments, to continue until Wednesday 28 April. However,. less than two hours after it began ETL surprisingly announced that the lockout would end at 10 pm Tuesday 27. During that time, workers will not receive pay. Now the union argues that the management cannot unilaterally change the end of the lockout without consulting the union. The two sides are negotiating the lockout's impact on annual leave and holiday benefits under the national mediator.  The owners' side said that it was cutting the lockout short in order to ensure the availability of groceries ahead of the May Day holiday weekend. It was also reacting to the union's announcement of more rolling strikes in May.  Union members have already staged two strikes during the dispute, and are planning a major one beginning May 11. 

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This article was published in the Collective Bargaining Newsletter. It aims to facilitate information exchange between trade unions and to support the work of ETUC's collective bargaining committee. For more information, please contact the editor Maarten van Klaveren, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) You may find further information on the ETUI, and on the AIAS at © ETUI aisbl, Brussels 2009.

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