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Contracts talks break off in chemical industry

The trade union claims that employers have the "long-term aim of junking our labour market system".

Hiihtovoidepurkkeja tuotantolinjalla.
Finland's chemical sector includes this ski wax factory in Joensuu (file photo). Image: Petri Lassheikki / Yle

Collective agreement negotiations between the Industrial Union and the Chemical Industry Federation have broken off without progress, the trade union said on Saturday.

"The reason for the interruption is the employers' side's rude behaviour in the negotiations," the union said in a statement.

It cited the industry federation's suggestion that companies would stop collecting union membership dues from employees through their paychecks, a move that is unacceptable to workers. The union says it will not return to the bargaining table until the proposal is rescinded.

A day earlier, the union announced that a ban on overtime work that took effect this week will be extended by more than a week.

"Junking our labour market system"

According to Toni Laiho, the union's chief negotiator for the chemical sector, the industry's proposal of phasing out membership due collection indicates its "long-term aim of junking our labour market system, which is based on contracts and negotiation. Collection of membership dues is the kind of issue that we will not negotiate on, though," he added.

On Friday the Industrial Union extended an overtime ban in the technology industry, the sheet metal and industrial insulation sector and ore mines as well as Defence Ministry staff. The ban, which was imposed in these sectors on Monday will now continue until 24 November instead of 15 November as originally planned. It covers more than 100,000 employees.

The Chemical Industry Federation of Finland represents nearly 400 member companies including Neste, Nokian Tyres and Tikkurila. The Industrial Union oversees 34 collective bargaining agreements, in fields ranging from heavy industry and mining to agriculture, forestry and some building trades.

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