New general collective agreement for the universities

A collective bargaining result was reached at the university sector on March 22, 2020. The content can now be published after all negotiating parties have accepted the result. The new general collective agreement is in effect for 24 months, from April 1, 2020 until March 31, 2022.

The negotiations were conducted at a fastened pace after the coronavirus pandemic closed the university campuses. University personnel works continuously, however, as research and teaching are conducted remotely.

–    “University sector’s collective bargaining showed the kind of responsibility that is needed in the current situation. The result secures just working conditions and ensures industrial peace. A big thank you to all negotiators for this result”, says Johanna Moisio, Executive Director of FUURT and chair of the university advisory board in JUKO (Negotiation Organisation for Public Sector Professionals).

Salary raises

The collective agreement guarantees salary raises to all university staff, corresponding with the general level of salary raises. Part of the raises will be given as general raises and part as locally allocated raises. In total, the salary raises are 3,2 %.

  • The general raises take place on August 1, 2020 by 1,1 % and on June 1, 2021 with another 1,1 %
  • The local lots take place on December 1, 2020 by 0,5 % and on December 1, 2021 with another 0,5 %

The local lots will be allocated by the employer’s discretion to the job-specific pay components together with job-requirement addition, or to the individual pay.

Salaries paid in total euros (not part of the university salary system) will be raised accordingly on August 1, 2020 (1,1 %), on December 1, 2020 (0,5 %), on June 1, 2021 (1,1 %) and on December 1, 2021 (0,5 %).

Academy professors’ and academy researchers’ salaries will be raised similarly with general raises and locally allocated raises.

The agreement comes with a clause concerning the coronavirus pandemic: If the pandemic causes significant economic hardship to a university, the locally allocated raise levels and the payment dates can be agreed differently in local negotiations with university chief shop-stewards. There will be additional training provided on the issue for the university chief shop-stewards, and aforementioned negotiations can be held only by the acceptance of JUKO and for exceptionally heavy reasons.

Competitive agreement (kiky) hours and contact teaching hour maximums

The additional competitive agreement (kiky) hours are ending almost entirely at universities. Universities’ teaching and research staff shall have half of the competitive agreement hours removed at the beginning of August 2020. The total working time will be decreased from 1624 hours to 1612 hours. The maximum contact teaching hours will decrease from 455 hours to 425 hours, from 396 hours to 394 hours and for professors from 142 hours to 141 hours.

For staff in the regular working time, the competitive agreement (kiky) hours will be removed completely at the beginning of August 2020. For specialist, administrative, library and other staff except teaching and research staff, it was agreed that the employer may assign extra 12 hours of work and 8 hours of training per year with singular normal salary. The review period of maximum working hours is 12 months.

There were also additions made to the collective agreement concerning layoff announcing times and the maximum number of trade union training days. There are also annexes concerning the University of Helsinki veterinary teaching hospital and university teacher training schools.

Working groups

The new collective agreement states that five working groups will be set up: a working group for statistics, a working group for agreement text, a working group for career models and meriting, a working group for contact teaching hour maximums and novel teaching methods, and a working group for university teacher training schools.

The working group for career models and meriting sets to provide an oversight into various university researcher career models and other ways of meriting in all personnel groups at universities. The working group will also examine how salaries in different personnel groups support advancing at university career in different career stages, and how universities support personnel to develop new skills and competences.

“FUURT has been working for a long time to improve young researchers’ position and salaries at the universities. In this particular working group FUURT will be able to bring up matters related to young researchers and problems specifically related to their position”, says Director of Advocacy Mia Weckman.

The working group for contact teaching hour maximums and novel teaching methods will consider the definition on contact teaching, how the contact teaching hour maximums work, and do they need reforming taking into consideration new methods and ways of teaching. The working group will also take into consideration the changes in higher education and effects of the digital vision ”Digital environments of higher education 2030” on university teaching.

“University education is based on research. Thus, there is a need to control teaching hour maximums in order to obey the Universities Act. The current severe situation caused by the corona virus pandemic has brought forth also the diversity of teaching methods and the ancient idea of contact teaching. Digital vision and continuous learning are parts of the same big picture, a topic which will also be tackled by the new FUURT internal working group,” says FUURT President Maija S. Peltola.

Additional information:

Mia Weckman, mia.weckman(at)