The employer and the personnel are parties to the cooperation

The parties subject to the obligations set out in the Act on Co-operation are the employer and the employees. 

Representativeness as the premise

The starting point is that the obligations are met through representation. However, if change negotiations only concern a single employee or a few individual employees, they can be held directly between the employees in question and the employer. 

If there is no employee representative, dialogue can be held in a joint meeting of the employees.  

Negotiating levels are mutually exclusive

If negotiations concerning several employees are held between the employee representative and the employer, negotiations on the same matter should not be held with individual employees. Consequently, negotiations held at different levels are mutually exclusive.

The employer’s representative is not defined in the Act on Co-operation within undertakings

The Act does not define the employer’s representative; instead, the employer must assign to the dialogue or the negotiations a person who is authorised to act as the employer’s representative in the matter in question.

Primarily a shop steward represents a personnel group

The personnel may consist of several personnel groups with representatives of their own. The personnel group representative is primarily a shop steward elected on the basis of the collective agreement. The representative may also be an elected representative as referred to in chapter 13, section 3 of the Employment Contracts Act (55/2001). 

If the employees have not elected a shop steward or an elected representative, even though they are entitled to do so, they can elect from among their own number a specific co-operation representative for a maximum of two years at a time. 

Ultimately, a representative can also be elected separately for a single negotiation or dialogue meeting. 

In the absence of a representative, the negotiations are conducted with the employees

If a personnel group does not elect even a negotiation-specific representative for themselves, the employer must fulfil their obligations by holding the negotiations together with all the employees belonging to the said personnel group.