Smart employers motivate their employees with good local agreements
According to Jyrki Sinkkonen, good local agreements commit and motivate employees. Photo: Jukka Rapo
Of all the PAM sectors, most genuine local agreement is done in sectors close to industry, such as the security sector, industrial cleaning and logistics. According to PAM’s Jyrki Sinkkonen, employers’ federations lack a genuine will for local agreement.
Local agreement means that representatives of employees and employers negotiate working conditions within companies. And according to PAM’s chief negotiator Jyrki Sinkkonen, this can be a good way to improve working conditions and earning power.
“The collective agreement channel improves working conditions very gradually, so local agreement is the only way to get good results quickly both in pay and other areas”, he says.
Sinkkonen has been part of a working group at PAM that has been assessing the union’s stance on local agreement. He also gives courses on local agreement. Whilst Sinkkonen is known as a keen supporter of agreements within companies, even he doesn’t think that it suits every workplace.
“A strong shop steward organisation is definitely a precondition.”
There is a good shop steward network in the security sector, and that’s way negotiating is familiar at AVARN Security, for example. He also thinks that local agreement is a good way to test new types of working conditions. An example of this type of opening is the equalisation system agreed at environmental services company Delete, in the facility services sector, which will be introduced in the company once some technical issues have been solved.
“Equalisation is a dirty word in almost all sectors, because the flexibility has been fairly one-sided. At Delete, equalisation has been made more attractive to employees by including surplus leave periods or earnings.”
For companies, local agreement is a way to commit employees and get them to stay with the company.
“Good companies make common cause with their employees to achieve results. They are also prepared to share part of their success with their workers. This is reflected in employees’ commitment, motivation and team spirit.”
“If local agreement was down to the employers’ federation, that would be the end of local agreement”, Sinkkonen says bluntly.
Some employers’ federations in service sectors have withdrawn their support for local agreement courses. That means they are unwilling to encourage employees to have agreement-making skills.
“Fortunately, however, individual companies support their shop stewards’ participation in courses.”
According to Sinkkonen, employers’ federations’ impressions of local agreement can easily be rather one-sided: aiming at a level that undercuts the collective agreement.
“There is a lack of a genuine will for local agreement”, he concludes.
“Local agreement is welcome if either side feels they are gaining something. There can’t be any other sort of agreement.”