The Post and Logistics Union (PAU) has called workers of the fully state-owned Finnish postal service (Posti) for a two weeks strike in November.
The strike will begin on Monday 11 and will end on Sunday 24 at midnight. According to PAU, the protest concerns about 9,000 workers of the mail delivery, handling and transportation services, which will stop during this period.
The representatives of the union said the strike may be suspended if Posti accepts to apply the current collective agreement to the workers.
Employees of Posti were already on strike last September in an attempt to curb the wage cut and the reductions on work conditions that the company intends to apply by transferring some of them under the scope of a new collective agreement negotiated by Teollisuusliitto (Finnish Industrial Union) and Medialiitto (Finnmedia).
"In practice, this means wrecking the salaries and other working conditions of low-paid workers", says PAU's Chair Heidi Nieminen,
The Post and Logistics Union explained that accepting the employer's demands would mean that "the already low-paid, physically demanding work would be done with even lower wages, longer working hours and working patterns that make it hard to balance work and personal life".
"The employer's demands are unacceptable and lead to widespread industrial actions in the sector", PAU remarked.
Employees transferred to subsidiary company
At the end of August, Posti announced its intention to transfer its parcel sorters to Posti's 100% owned subsidiary, Posti Palvelut Oy, which is organized in a different employer association (Finnmedia) than the parent company.
Based on the organization of the employer, "the aim is to obtain wages and working conditions that are clearly cheaper than in the general collective labor agreement in the sector. The employment terms and conditions of office employees will also deteriorate if the collective labor agreement changes. Thus, Posti wants cheaper working conditions for the parcel sorters and for the office employees of the parcel business unit through a business transfer, and now Posti is trying to also cheapen the working conditions of other postal workers too through collective labor agreement negotiations", PAU said in a statement.
Heidi Nieminen pointed out that in the collective labor agreement negotiated by the Industrial union, the hourly wages are between 8.90 and 10.26 euros. A compensation of 0.8 euros per hour is paid for night work. However, in PAU's collective labor agreement, hourly wages range from 11.34 to 14.41 euros, and the night-time supplement is 30% of the simple hourly rate (3.4 to 4.3 per hour). "All other terms in the Industrial union’s collective labor agreement are also weaker than in the collective labor agreement of PAU", she added.
In September, PAU announced that there would be no work peace in the postal sector after the end of the collective labor agreement term until the parcel sorters will be transferred back to the collective labor agreement for the Communications and logistics sector.
Posti denies wage cut
Posti published a statement to deny their intention of cutting wages. Posti's senior Vice President Yrjö Eskola emphasized that "Posti does not seek pay cuts for the next agreement period in the negotiations. Contrary to PAU's claims, salaries and evening and night shift allowances remain at the level of PAU's current collective agreement".
"PAU bears no responsibility for any damage or disruption caused by strikes, a mere threat of a strike is bad news for our customers. It is very unfortunate for all parties and especially for our customers that instead of solutions that secure future jobs, we are facing industrial action again," says Eskola.
The union, however, say they don't demand anything extra in the collective agreement negotiations, only to maintain the current terms of employment and the salaries according to the general salary increases. PAU has also requested support from other transport unions in its "fight against the deterioration of working conditions".
Negotiations are expected to continue this week.