Before the union can enter into collective bargaining, it must be certified by the Labour Council. In a short period of time after the certification is received, the union will begin collective bargaining (or negotiations) with the employer. The aim of the negotiations is to reach agreement on the many issues that can be included in the agreement. The collective agreement covers you against arbitrary dismissals and dismissals, because the agreements set out the rules to be followed in the event of termination, i.e. the so-called termination procedures. In practice, the structure of negotiations in the United Kingdom is very complex. Collective bargaining on behalf of a certain group of workers can take place at more than one level. Some issues can be defined in sectoral negotiations, others by enterprise negotiations, while some issues can be subject to more than one level. If collective bargaining collapses, the parties may refer the matter to a third party for arbitration. If this is not the case, it is possible that a STRIKE or any other form of INDUSTRIAL ACTION may occur. See SINGLE TABLE BARGAINING.
There are provisions that are recorded in collective agreements that are not regulated by legislation. These issues include travel expenses, vacation bonuses, extra days off (called “pekkasvapaat”) or sick or maternity leave benefits. The compensation system is an integral part of the collective agreement as it defines minimum wages. The collective agreement binds signed union members and employers who are members of an employer union that signed the agreement. These agreements are considered normally binding. More detailed information about the collective agreement can be obtained from Shop Steward or pro employee council. In the event of a conflict, Pro members can get assistance from the Shop Steward and the Union staff council. It is a condition of the collective agreement that those who use the agreement cannot be solicited by a public body (as defined in the financial emergency measures in the Public Interest Acts 2009 – 2011) to re-enter the public service for a period of two years from the end of the employment relationship. Always check the collective agreement that respects your job when you start your new job. Information about benefits and rights guaranteed by the collective agreement is often valuable.
Collective agreements also include decisions on working time and overtime pay. Trade Union Pro`s collective agreements include, for example, agreements on shift work differences, travel allowances, sick pay, maternity leave benefits, leave pay and child care benefits.