OAJ initiates an overtime and shift-trading ban 8th of October - 10 questions and answers

01.10.2018 - 11:30 News

OAJ is initiating an overtime and shift-trading ban in private day-care centres on Monday, 8 October at 00.01 a.m. The political protest is in response to the Finnish government’s plan to weaken protection against dismissal in small businesses. Negotiations Director Petri Lindroos explains the situation.

1. Who does OAJ’s overtime and shift-trading ban concern?

At this stage, the ban concerns OAJ members who work in private day-care centres as an early childhood education teacher or as a day-care centre director. OAJ has sent instructions by email to its activist members and to all members who the political protest concerns. 

We are focussing the measures on sectors that will be affected if the government’s bill is passed. For now, the overtime and shift-trading ban does not apply to other agreement sectors, such as the municipal sector.

2. Is the ban obligatory?

The overtime and shift-trading ban is obligatory for those to whom it applies, i.e. all OAJ members working in private day-care centres. All OAJ members must participate in union actions in order for them to have the greatest possible impact.

3. Why is OAJ opposed to a weakening of dismissal protection?

The issue of weakening the protection against dismissal is a matter of principle for OAJ. If implemented, the weaker terms would place employees in a position of inequality based on the size of the employer company. It would also target OAJ’s predominantly female member group.

The weakening of protection against dismissal would apply, for example, to early childhood education teachers and day-care centre directors who work in small day-care centres. OAJ defends just and fair employment protection for each and every one of its members.

The overtime and shift-trading ban is a political protest that is aimed at the Government of Finland’s proposed legislation, not at the employer.

4. Several trade unions have already initiated overtime and shift-trading bans. Why is OAJ only launching industrial actions now?

OAJ has refrained from taking measures until now in order to secure the negotiations related to universities that were ongoing. On 27 September, those negotiations produced the targeted result, which was adopted on 28 September.

5. How long will the overtime and shift-trading ban remain in force?

The overtime and shift-trading ban will be in force until further notice. Information concerning the ban’s expiry will be provided separately.

6. What is meant by overtime ban?

Overtime ban means the employees do not agree to work overtime. Employees will work their daily working hours stated in the duty roster, but will not work longer days than that. Overtime cannot in any case be performed without the employee’s consent.

7. What is meant by shift-trading ban?

Shift-trading ban means that the employees do not agree to trade their work shifts. The employees will observe the start and end time for working hours as stated and established in the duty roster. For example, an early childhood education teacher must not agree to trade a mid-shift scheduled for the next day for a morning shift.

8. Can the employer unilaterally change the duty roster or invoke emergency work?

The employees must be informed of the duty roster in writing no later than one week before the start of the period of the duty roster. Thereafter, any changes to the duty roster can only be made by agreement or for a justified reason.

For example, if the duty roster is drawn up for a three-week reference period, the working hours for the full period must be announced one week before the period begins.

If a supervisor requests that an employee agree to a change in their work shift, the employee must not agree unless there is a pressing reason for the change in terms of the overall activities. A varying number of children or the refusal of an employee to work her/his shift is not a pressing reason to change a work shift.

The employer does not have the right to unilaterally change work shifts once a work shift has already begun; the change must be agreed on. Employees must not agree to changes during the shift-trading ban, however.

The employer cannot demand the employee to change work shifts or do overtime by invoking that the employee is obliged to emergency work. Early childhood education is not a such sector where emergency work stated by the Working Hours Act would come into question.

Because unions have launched overtime and shift-trading bans, the employees follow the duty roster working hours as such. Due to unexpected absence a situation might occur, where the employee of the first morning shift or last afternoon shift is absent, the day-care centre is forced to open at a later time or close earlier. The employer cannot in these situations invoke emergency work. The shortage of staff does not endanger the children’s lives, because parents can e.g. be asked to pick up their children earlier.

9. In my employment contract, I have agreed  to be available for standby duty. Can I refuse?

If the employee has agreed, in her/his employment contract, to be available for standby duty, she/he has consented only to being available for standby duty, not to working overtime. This situation may arise, for instance, if someone has agreed to work as the day-care centre’s permanent substitute. Standby duty must be planned and established in the duty roster. 

10. Can a part-time employee perform additional work during the overtime and shift-trading ban?

The overtime and shift-trading ban does not apply to additional work. Part-time employees may perform additional work up until the full working hours. It is up to the part-time employees themselves whether they perform additional work or not.

Have any questions? Don’t hesitate to ask!

Ask your shop steward or send an email to OAJ: jarjestotoimet@oaj.fi

OAJ’s service phone number, employment contract conditions: 0800 418 402
Available at these times: Mon 10–11 am and 2–4 pm, Tue–Thu 9–11 am and 2–4 pm, Fri 9–11 am and 2–3 pm.

Stay on top of the news in the labour market!

OAJ provides information on its industrial actions on its website www.oaj.fi. Follow the latest developments in OAJ’s social media channels http://facebook.com/oajry and twitter.com/oajry.

If you are part of the overtime and shift-trading ban but have not received information about the matter by email, please make sure your email address is correct in your membership details. We recommend that you use your personal email address. You can update your membership details by logging in to the website Omat tiedot (in Finnish). Click here for instructions on how to log in.