How is a co-operation negotiation procedure followed through?

Before negotiations, an employer must issue a written proposal for negotiations in order to commence the co-operation negotiations and employment measures. The negotiation proposal must be issued five days prior to commencement of the negotiations at the latest to allow the negotiating party to prepare for the negotiations.  The negotiation proposal must be issued regardless of whether the prospective personnel reduction applies to one or several employees.

Negotiation proposal secures premises for negotiations

The purpose of the negotiation proposal is to secure premises for the negotiations. The personnel must have the opportunity to affect solutions in statutory issues. Therefore, the personnel must be provided with sufficient information and the opportunity to state their opinions.

Negotiations must be held at a stage in which personnel representatives are still able to affect the prospective decision. Personnel representatives must also be allowed to make counter-proposals on the negotiated issues, and the presented proposals must be discussed at the negotiation proceedings.

Negotiated issues:

  • The grounds and impacts of actions;
  • The action plan and/or operational principles.

Once these have been established, alternatives for limiting the scope of personnel reductions and means to alleviate the impacts of reductions on the personnel are negotiated.

Negotiation on alternatives:

  • Training and redeployment options;
  • Work and working hour arrangements;
  • Other negotiated issues may include the number of volunteers for part-time work, study leaves and similar arrangements;
  • In the co-operation negotiation proceedings, the potential for reducing social and health hazards due to notices of termination, lay-offs and transfers to part-time work must be discussed if it is not possible to waive the personnel reductions.

Communication is essential in co-operation processes

Communication has great significance during the whole co-operation process. Uncertainty increases insecurity and rumours.

When the co-operation negotiations have been completed, the employer must within a reasonable time provide the representatives of the personnel groups with a general report on the decisions considered on the basis of the co-operation negotiations.

The report shall provide at least: 

  • The number of employees whose contracts will be terminated, who will be laid off, or whose contracts of employment will be reduced to part-time contracts in each personnel group;
  • Duration of the lay-offs;
  • An estimate of the time during which the planned reductions are intended to be carried out.

After this, the superiors should explain the employees whose contracts will be terminated and who will be laid off how their employment terms will apply during their notice or lay-off period.

Negotiation periods in co-operation processes 

The main principle of co-operation negotiation outcomes is that the same issues should not have to be negotiated twice. An employer cannot give notice due to financial or productive reasons whose bases, impacts or alternatives have not been discussed in co-operation negotiations. According to the Employment Contracts Act, an employer is also liable to re-employ a person within nine months of termination of the employment relationship if notice was given on production or financial grounds. 

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