Finland - Supreme court: district courts cannot ban strikes - March 31, 2016

Employers cannot stop potential strikes by demanding that district courts impose conditional fines on unions when the collective agreement is valid. The Supreme Court made this decision in the case of a planned strike at the national flag carrier Finnair. In June 2012 Finnair salaried employees belonging to the Trade Union Pro and some other unions announced they were taking strike action due to planned personnel cuts and outsourcing. The company asked the Helsinki district court to ban the strike and impose a conditional fine of almost three million euro on the unions. The district court accepted the application on the very same day without hearing the defendants. In the event, the strike was called off but the case led to a juridical process lasting almost four years and went all the way to the Supreme Court. Now the Supreme Court has set an important precedent by ruling that the only court that has the competence to handle issues of possible breaches of collective agreements is the Labour Court. It also said that according to the Collective Agreements Act a court cannot prohibit industrial action.

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For more information, please contact the editor Jan Cremers, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) or the communications officer at the ETUI, Willy De Backer For previous issues of the Collective bargaining newsletter please visit Since June 2013 readers can consult our archive and search through all articles in our database at www.cbnarchive.euYou may find further information on the ETUI at, and on the AIAS at

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