The collective agreements established by the chemical industry offer several opportunities to tailor the application of various provisions within the agreements to better suit the needs of the company and its personnel. This is referred to as local bargaining.
Negotiation requires practice and a good negotiation culture. In the chemical industry, the parties involved in collective agreement negotiations view the act of reaching agreements positively. While there is no obligation to agree, it is advisable to capitalize on opportunities whenever the need arises.
The potential for local agreements has been augmented in collective agreements nearly every negotiation round, as it is well understood that not all workplace changes can be anticipated through the clauses of collective agreements. Local bargaining presents several advantages: it facilitates the refinement of operational practices, enhances flexibility and responsiveness to diverse situations, and improves the capacity to address evolving customer needs. Moreover, addressing changes collectively fosters employee commitment to shared objectives. The act of bargaining holds significant potential that the workplaces within the industry have yet to fully exploit.
In the chemical industry’s collective agreements for the years 2023-2024, local bargaining is being elevated to a new level in collaboration with Chemical Industry Finland and its negotiating partners, Industrial Union and Trade Union Pro. The objective is for chemical industry companies to thrive in global markets. The possibilities for engaging in collective agreement negotiations must be accessible and effectively utilized as needed. The bargaining process should not become mired in various obstacles or challenges stemming from negotiation culture.
Is your company in need of training and tools for local bargaining?
Yhteistä kemiaa website is intended for workplaces in the field of chemistry and its related sectors to promote local agreements and collaborative development. The website is a joint initiative of Chemical Industry Finland, Industrial Union, Trade Union Pro, and Professional Association for Supervisory Staff YTN.
The collective bargaining parties of the Chemical Industry, namely Chemical Industry Federation of Finland (Kemianteollisuus ry), Industrial Union, and Professional Union Pro, intend to elevate the practice of local bargaining to a new level, collaboratively. The objective is to ensure the competitiveness of chemical industry companies in the global markets. The potential of negotiating collective agreements should be utilized whenever necessary. Negotiations must not become stalled by various obstacles or the challenges that may arise in the negotiation culture. The unions are prepared to support the development of workplace-level collaboration and the advancement of local bargaining through various means:
- The “yellow card” procedure for addressing issues related to negotiation culture problems and challenges in local agreements.
- Company-level mentoring sessions to provide support to the negotiation parties within the company for enhancing collaboration and readiness for local agreements.
- Joint regional training sessions where the possibilities of local agreements within the chemical industry’s collective labor agreements are discussed, along with providing practical examples of successful negotiation outcomes.
- Developing a collaboration level indicator to assess the state of collaboration within the company, gauging the effectiveness of different aspects of collaboration among various stakeholders.
- A storytelling and feedback competition aimed at sharing positive examples of negotiation culture in local agreements and, at the same time, drawing attention to potential challenges in local agreements at workplaces.
- Temporary working time experimentation and a more flexible working time bank, aiming to encourage the establishment of innovative, flexible, company-level working time solutions through local agreements, which can also serve as a basis for the development of collective labor agreements.
- A tool designed for planning flexible working time solutions, enabling the identification of suitable working time arrangements tailored to each workplace’s needs.
- Joint guides addressing local agreements and working hours.
Additionally, the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland, the Industrial Union, the Professional Union Pro, and the Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff (YTN) have launched a joint website in 2022, www.yhteistakemiaa.fi. The website provides shared materials and events by the unions concerning local agreement practices and the development of workplace-level collaboration.
The Chemical Industry Federation of Finland, the Industrial Union, and the Professional Union Pro collectively monitor the progress of local bargaining within the industry through a survey conducted regularly among sector companies and employee representatives. The first survey was conducted in March 2022. The survey focuses on local agreement negotiations aimed at enhancing competitiveness, productivity, and employee well-being, particularly in matters related to working hours and the advancements made in these areas. The unions continuously address potential issues in negotiation and determine the actions required from the unions in response.
Opportunities for local bargaining are present in around 80 clauses within the collective agreements for both workers and salaried employees. Similarly, extensive opportunities for negotiations exist for senior salaried employees as well.
For the years 2023-2024, the collective agreements have further expanded the possibilities for bargaining, both temporarily and permanently, while also refining existing opportunities.
Examples of temporary flexibility options in both worker and salaried employee agreements will form the basis for assessing the need for further development of the collective agreements in the autumn of 2025.
- Enabling a worktime experiment until the end of 2025
- Companies can, through local agreements, deviate significantly from the worktime provisions outlined in the collective agreement
- However, mandatory provisions of the Working Hours Act must always be adhered to
- Negotiating parties at the workplace can jointly enroll in the experiment at any point during the agreement period and participate in initial training
- Enrollment for the experiment takes place via a form on the website www.yhteistakemiaa.fi
- A more detailed description of the experiment can be found in the signing protocols of both worker and salaried employee collective agreements.
Temporary Revision of Worktime Bank Recording
For the years 2023 and 2024, the collective agreements for salaried employees have introduced flexibility to the provisions related to the worktime bank (similar flexibility is also possible for workers’ worktime banks in the worktime experiment) This is intended to determine if this change contributes to increasing the prevalence of worktime banks within the chemical industry for the time being
For further information about these and other opportunities for local bargaining in collective agreements across various sectors of the chemical industry, you can refer to KemiaExtra (accessible to employees of member companies of the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland).
In 2021, the negotiation partners of the chemical industry (Chemical Industry Federation of Finland, Industrial Union, Professional Union Pro, and YTN, the Union of Professional Engineers in Finland) jointly developed a tool for measuring the level of collaboration, drawing on their extensive experience and examples of similar metrics from other industries.
The Level Measurement Tool assists companies in identifying strengths and areas for improvement in various aspects of collaboration. Measurement can be conducted for both employers and employee representatives or a broader group. The themes of the Collaboration Level Measurement Tool encompass the operating environment, trust, competence, and well-being at work. Each theme consists of eight statements. The results of the Level Measurement Tool can be utilized in discussions conducted at workplaces. If desired, assistance from the unions in the form of company-specific coaching sessions is available for these discussions. Coaching sessions can also be requested independently from the level measurement.
We hope that the results of the Level Measurement Tool will serve as a catalyst for discussions and contribute to the development of local agreements.
The Collaboration Level Measurement can be conducted at the following address (in finnish): https://link.webropolsurveys.com/S/08B7F0B498204AA8
The joint objective of the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland, the Industrial Union, and the Professional Union Pro is to assist the local stakeholders of chemical industry companies in adapting local bargaining to the changing operational environment and in maintaining a culture of negotiations.
A mentoring session on the development of collaboration and local bargaining can be conducted based on the level of collaboration measurement or as an independent discussion. Through the discussion, strengths and areas for improvement are identified, and decisions are made regarding follow-up actions along with their timelines. The unions also aim to hear and learn during the mentoring session about successful instances of local bargaining, potential setbacks, and to gain ideas for the development needs of local bargaining.
For the mentoring session, it is advisable to allocate 1.5 to 2 hours. It can be conducted using Teams or in person at the companies’ premises. Company-specific mentoring sessions involve representatives from the unions as well as representatives chosen by the company itself.
To schedule a coaching session, please send an email to: paikallinensopiminen(a)kemianteollisuus.fi
In the email, kindly provide:
- Email addresses to which the invitation will be sent.
- Preference for an in-person session at the location _____ or a session via Microsoft Teams.
- Message for the union’s coaches.
- Contact person’s name and telephone number.