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Union rejects settlement proposal in tech sector standoff

The proposal would have seen wages in the sector increase by 6.6 percent over two years, but staff representatives say that is not enough.

Teollisuusliitto hylkäsi 27. tammikuuta 2023 sovintoesityksen valtakunnansovittelijan toimistolla.
National Conciliator Anu Sajavaara said she hopes talks can continue. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
Yle News

The Industrial Union has rejected a settlement proposal aimed at resolving a pay dispute in the tech sector, raising the possibility of industrial action.

The proposal was tabled by National Conciliator Anu Sajavaara on Thursday, and would have seen wages in the sector rise by 6.6 percent over two years for some workers, but not all.

"We had hoped that this could have broken the stalemate, but we're not there yet," Sajavaara stated, adding that she hoped talks could resume at a later date.

Industrial Union chair Riku Aalto told Yle that the deal did not go far enough, as the union continues to hold out for a German-style wage increase of 5 percent each year, arguing that inflation was nearly ten percent in December.

"In practice, it would have meant a salary increase of a little more than five percent for all workers over the course of two years, and our board unanimously decided to reject the proposal," Aalto said.

The proposal had suggested that wages in the sector would rise by 4.1 percent overall in the first year and 2.5 in the second year, but also added a company-specific option allowing employers to add further pay bumps to this general increase.

The union's rejection of the deal raises the possibility once again that workers in the sector will begin industrial action, but Aalto did not confirm whether such action might begin or if talks could recommence.

The union has previously stated that coordinated industrial action would begin on 1 February with a three-day strike at a limited number of companies, before a wider strike on 8-10 February.

Representing the employers' side, Jarkko Ruohoniemi of the Technology Industry Employers of Finland said he would have been ready to accept Sajavaara's settlement proposal, noting that it would also have been an "expensive solution".

"This is a hefty disappointment after a long and difficult process," Ruohoniemi said, adding that he cannot currently say when talks might continue.

"If the Industrial Union has unanimously rejected such a high settlement proposal, we have to see if there are the conditions to continue mediation or if it will continue after the strikes," Ruohoniemi said.

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