Chief shop stewards file a local bargaining request on the harmonisation of salaries and job titles


On Wednesday, the chief shop stewards filed a local bargaining initiative on the harmonisation of salaries and job titles. The chief shop stewards find that the harmonisation of salaries and job titles has not progressed in the way required by the general collective agreement for universities, which would ensure that the employees are equally treated in the harmonisation of job titles and salary levels.

The harmonisation of salaries and job titles has been prepared in the salary system evaluation groups since the beginning of 2019. The phases or outcomes of the preparation have not been discussed in cooperation negotiations. In meetings with the employer, the chief shop stewards have repeatedly requested for information on the preparation process. The chief shop stewards have also requested negotiations on this topic in their cooperation initiatives.

The university employer considers the handling of the harmonisation of salaries and job titles in the evaluation groups as a sufficient way for reaching an agreement on the matter. The chief shop stewards welcome the valuable preparatory work undertaken by the evaluation groups, but an agreement that complies with the provisions laid down in the collective agreement also requires that the employer processes the matter and agrees about it with the chief shop stewards.

“The employer cannot appoint negotiators to represent the employees. Only the chief shop stewards, whom the employees have elected as their representatives, have the right to negotiate and contract for the application of the collective agreement,” the chief shop stewards remind.

The university employer has acted against the collective agreement

For the first time, the chief shop stewards were informed of the progress of the salary and job title harmonisation in April this year. At that time, the representatives of the university employer stated that the employer would not bring the harmonisation of salaries and job titles into a negotiation between the chief shop stewards and the employer as had been agreed in previous negotiations. 

In the evaluation working groups, the salary and job title harmonisation has been prepared for a year and a half. According to the information received by the chief shop stewards, the work has progressed well. However, as the preparations have progressed, controversial issues have emerged that must be negotiated and agreed between the university employer and the chief shop stewards representing the employees.

The chief shop stewards find that the university employer has not complied with the note in the minutes of Chapter 6, Section 3 of the collective agreement on the procedures concerning the salary system. The minutes state the following: “In situations where two or more universities are merged or in other structural arrangements like fusions or business transfers, the parties of this agreement agree on the procedures which the universities have to follow to ensure the purpose of the salary system and the equal treatment of employees.