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Government submits its proposed amendments to industrial peace legislation to Parliament

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 29.2.2024 14.15 | Published in English on 1.3.2024 at 15.32
Press release

The Government proposes to increase fines for violating industrial peace, limit disproportionate solidarity action and restrict the length of political strikes. The reform would not restrict industrial action aimed at improving working conditions in one’s own sector.

The Government submitted its proposal on amendments to industrial peace legislation to Parliament on 29 February 2024. Improving industrial peace is the first labour market reform of the Government to proceed to Parliament.

The aim of the reform is to reduce labour market disruptions. This would safeguard the productivity and better competitiveness of Finnish companies compared with key competitors and promote the image of Finland as a stable operating and investment environment abroad.

Fines for violation of industrial peace to rise

According to legislation, the obligation to maintain industrial peace applies when a collective agreement is in force. If the industrial action is directed at one’s own collective agreement while the agreement is in force, the strike is unlawful. A compensatory fine may be imposed for an unlawful strike.

The Government proposes an increase in the level of compensatory fines, with the maximum amount set at EUR 150,000 and the minimum amount set at EUR 10,000. However, the level of compensatory fine could be reduced below the minimum amount or waived completely for a special reason. At present, the maximum amount of compensatory fine is EUR 37,400.

At present, compensatory fines can only be imposed on an association or employer that is party to a collective agreement and bound by the obligation of industrial peace. The Government proposes to change this. An employee who continues industrial action which a court has found to be unlawful and who is aware of this judgement could be sentenced to a compensatory fine of EUR 200.

Disproportionate solidarity action to be limited

Solidarity actions support the industrial action of another group of employees. The Government wants to impose restrictions so that, when the obligation to maintain industrial peace is in force, only such solidarity action that does not have disproportionately harmful consequences for third parties would be allowed. Most solidarity action that has occurred in recent times would be permitted in future too. The restrictions would be less severe if the collective agreement for the sector was not in force.

Limiting the length of political industrial action

A political industrial action refers to an industrial action implemented by an employee organisation directed at a political decision-maker or decision-making. However, such action also has an effect on the employer. The Government proposes to limit the duration of political work stoppages to 24 hours and other industrial action to two weeks.

Duty to notify of industrial action to be extended

The obligation to notify about industrial action would also be extended to solidarity action and political industrial action organised in the form of work stoppages. It is proposed that those organising a solidarity action or political industrial action in the form of a work stoppage would have to notify of it no later than seven days before its start. 

In the case of solidarity action, the notification should be submitted to the employer and the party to the collective agreement that is subject to the industrial action. In the case of political industrial action, when industrial peace is in force, the party to the collective agreement should be notified. 

Amendments to enter into force in July

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment appointed a tripartite working group from 3 July to 15 October 2023 to prepare legislative amendments for implementing the Government Programme’s entries to improve industrial peace. The working group’s task was to draw up a report in the form of a government proposal. The group was not unanimous in its work. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment circulated the working group’s report for comments from 23 October to 5 December 2023.

The Government proposes that the amended legislation would enter into force on 1 July 2024.

Jukka Sarhimaa, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 295 047 330
Nico Steiner, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 049 001