Fujitsu case is decided in favour of workers

30.03.2010

Finnish High Court rules Fujitsu to pay almost three million euros to workers illegally dismissed ten years ago.

FINLAND:  In 2000 the company Fujitsu closed its factory in Espoo near Helsinki that was producing personal computers. The decision was taken without prior mandatory corporate consultation with workers' representatives and therefore came in violation of the legislation regulating industrial relations. Ten years after the start of the legal process between eleven Finnish trade unions, including IMF affiliates Metallityöväen Liitto r.y. (Finnish Metalworkers' Union) and Toimihenkilöunioni - TU (Union of Salaried Employees), representing 223 of the 450 dismissed workers and the company the court ruled in favour of workers who will get compensation for their unjust dismissals.

On March 8, 2010 the High Court of Finland gave its verdict according to which the company will have to pay six months of salaries and wages to the dismissed employees. The total compensation rises to 2.45 million euros plus the interests to be paid from May 2001. In addition Fujitsu has to pay all the costs of the legal process.

The decision is based on the interpretation of the directive on mass dismissals made by the European Court of Justice's (ECJ) and received by the Finnish High Court in September 2009. The ECJ states that Fujitsu should have consulted its factory employee representatives in Espoo before the final corporate-level decision was taken.

Most of the workers who will receive compensation are members of the Metallityöväen Liitto r.y. They are entitled to 1.44 million euros. The second largest share of the compensation goes to the members of the Toimihenkilöunioni - TU. They are set to receive over 0.49 million euros. Among the eleven unions there are affiliated members from all three Finnish union confederations SAK, STTK and Akava.

The unions believe that the High Court decision has set a precedent. Therefore, in the future they hope employers will consider carefully the cost of ignoring the legislation on cooperation and consultation in companies.