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Complaint to Chancellor of Justice over "passive" labour conciliator

The Finnish Electrical Workers' Union claimed national conciliator Vuokko Piekkala was insufficiently active.

Vuokko Piekkala
National conciliator Vuokko Piekkala sent a wage talk invitation to employer and employee representatives -- after a complaint was filed against her. Image: Seppo Samuli / Lehtikuva

The Finnish Electrical Workers' Union (FEWU) has filed a formal complaint with the Chancellor of Justice's office concerning the labour conciliator Vuokko Piekkala's alleged lack of initiative.

The union claimed Piekkala's role in mediating almost two-month-long technology industry wage negotiations was too passive, and that the legality of her alleged negligent conduct should be looked into.

FEWU chair Sauli Väntti said the group filed the complaint after lengthy deliberation. The union wants to know why the conciliator had not arranged a meeting between workers and employers.

The job of the national conciliator and conciliators are to help negotiating partners to negotiate labour disputes if they are unable to reach collective agreements without outside assistance, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

Meeting called after complaint filed

"The companies in the Technology Finland federation, have been engaged in industrial action since 5 December. The conciliator had not called both parties to even meet once by the time the complaint was filed. Another reason for the complaint is that the talks had already been postponed by two weeks," Väntti told Yle.

However, on Monday afternoon, after complaint was filed, Piekkala did invite both parties, but FEWU did not withdraw its complaint after the invitation.

"Our members are aggravated. When notice is given for industrial action, the issue essentially becomes the labour conciliator's responsibility, in order of urgency. In this case we feel the conciliator was woefully ill-prepared for these talks," Väntti said.

The Finnish Electrical Workers' Union is part of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), whose chair Jarkko Eloranta said FEWU filed the complaint on their own, with their own motives, with no consultation from SAK.

"It certainly sends a serious message," Eloranta said.

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