Originally published in Acatiimi 1.2020
The working group was set to work under the present collective agreement, which begun in the Spring 2018. The working group consisted of members from both the employees’ side; Juko (Katja Aho,Maija Holma, Mika Parkkari, Mia Weckman), JLH (Reetta Kuosmanen), Pro (Satu Henttonen) and the employer’s side; (Anne Somer and Jussi Raatikainen) Sivistystyönantajat.
The working group was to go through statistcs regarding fixed-term employment contracts at the universities, update the previous guide for good practices regarding fixed-term contracts and also hold a seminar on the subject of the good practices regarding fixed-term employment contracts. The aim of the group was to come up with solutions to diminish the amount of unnecessary fixed-term contracts at the universities.
The working group conducted a joint survey to the universities’ administration and chief shopstewards about good practices regarding fixedterm employment contracts at each university. The working group then analyzed the answers and used them to help update the previous guide. In many of the answers the good practice of planning the employment relationships well and also well in advance was raised.
The working group also discussed the reasons for the vast amount of fixed-term contracts at the universities and tried to come up with solutions to diminish the number. Things such as the funding model or outside funding for the universities and project work were one of the biggest issues. However, that alone is not enough to explain the situation fully, since the amount of fixed-term contracts at the university sector clearly exceeds any other sector by far.
The tenure track system and four stage career models raised a lot of discussion in the group, yet again. In the previous working group for fixedterm contracts (2010—2013) the career models were also something the parties could not reach an agreement for. Therefore both the employee and the employer party decided it is best to leave the guide as is regarding the career models and continue the discussion about them later with better time since the only agreement the parties have about the career models regarding employment contracts, is that the first stage, phD work, may, due to its nature, be used a basis for a fixed-term contract. In the later stages of the career models, according to the Employment Contracts Act, the work should be done with a permanent contract.
The working group held a webinar January 14. and the updated guide is available in Finnish, online, for example here.
The guide will later be available also in English and Swedish. If you have any questions about your fixed-term employment contract, please contact your trade union and we will look into it.
Text by Mia Weckman
Director of Advocacy, The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers