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In Finland collective agreements have been concluded ever since the latter part of the nineteenth century. The first Collective Agreements Act was passed in 1924. The number of collective agreements was small until the end of the Second World War and their impact was rather insignificant. In the spring of 1944 the central organizations of employers' and employees' associations signed the first document stipulating conditions of employment and even in the same year collective bargaining between the member associations of the central organizations in different fields was initiated.

After the end of the Second World War also the state undertook measures to adjust and improve the legislation concerning labour relations and labour disputes. The outcome of these measures was that the Parliament in 1946 amended the Collective Agreements Act and passed the Labour Court Act. These Acts came into force and the Labour Court started operating at the beginning of 1947.

The establishment of the Finnish Labour Court was firstly deemed necessary due to the fact that general courts of law were regarded as being too slow. Secondly, they were considered not to have the special expertise required in settling disputes arising out of collective agreements. In addition, it was considered significant that a court which was composed of members who represent the employers' as well as the employees' organizations, could gain the confidence of the labour organizations in a different manner than the general courts of law. Finally, the positive experiences in the other Scandinavian countries with their separate labour courts contributed to the establishment of the Labour Court.

By the time the Labour Court started operating the number of collective agreements concluded by the employers' and employees' associations was already quite significant. Almost all of the fields represented by the central organization of employers' associations had by then already concluded their own collective agreements.

The existing Labour Court Act was passed in 1974. Later amendments concerning, inter alia, the system of civil servants' collective agreements and the judicial procedure in the Labour Court have been passed.

Published 13.8.2013