All collective agreements that set the duration of the contract, which cannot be less than three years, must be considered by the labour tribunal, i.e. as a binding, valid and enforceable document. These agreements are considered to be accurate and become mandatory for the parties and for workers employed or subsequently employed in the company to which the agreement relates, whether or not they are members of the union (section 17, IRA). The Industry Tribunal may refuse to recognize agreements that do not advance national economic interests. Some 379 collective agreements were made aware in 1991. It was not until 1995 and 1997 that this figure slightly exceeded 400. Since 2004, the number of collective agreements has increased from 369 in 2003 to 263 in 2005 (labour court figures, July 20, 2006). Collective agreements are always concluded at the enterprise level between management and business unions (with very few exceptions, such as the seafarers` union). There are provisions that are recorded in collective agreements that are not regulated by legislation.
These issues include travel expenses, vacation bonuses, extra days off (called “pekkasvapaat”) or sick or maternity leave benefits. To compare models of collective bargaining between companies, the industrial relations analysis uses different dimensions of collective bargaining: although there is no general trend in higher education, there are a number of topics that come up regularly in every global survey of collective bargaining. In many countries, basic labour rights are still lacking, in others civil society is underdeveloped or the state is so hostile that higher education workers do not have effective collective representation. Before the union can enter into collective bargaining, it must be certified by the Labour Council. In a short period of time after the certification is received, the union will begin collective bargaining (or negotiations) with the employer.