Search terms: Dittmar & Indrenius
The Competition Authority recently ordered Finnish dairy company Valio Ltd to end its abusive pricing practice. The authority also proposed that the Market Court impose a €70 million infringement fine on Valio. According to the authority, Valio made a strategic decision to drop the wholesale price of fresh milk below cost to foreclose the fresh milk market from imported milk; this practice continued for almost three years.
During 2012 the Competition Authority has completed investigations relating to the distribution of pharmaceuticals and published a report on pharmaceutical regulation and the role of pharmacies. The topics reviewed include the single channel distribution system, rules on the substitution of drugs and legislation on pharmaceutical retail sales.
The Ministry of Employment and the Economy has published for comment a draft bill that would amend the Competition Act. The bill would introduce a sector-specific threshold for dominance in the consumer goods retail market, which would directly affect the two main operators in that sector. It is hoped that the proposal will make it easier for smaller suppliers to enter the distribution chain.
The Supreme Administrative Court has upheld a cartel decision of the Market Court against five independent car spare parts wholesalers, rejecting the appeals of both the defendants and the Competition Authority. This is the first time that the Supreme Administrative Court has reviewed a decision which was based on a leniency application.
A report recently published by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy indicates that the ministry has decided to support the merger between the Competition Authority and the Consumer Agency. A government bill for the combined new authority will be issued after the summer and the combined authority could become operational at the beginning of 2013.
The Market Court imposed a €3 million fine on Finnish design firm Iittala Group for minimum resale price maintenance which took place from 2005 to 2007. According to the court, Iittala pressured retailers to follow its instructions on minimum prices for its products and decided maximum discount percentages, as well as the duration of sale campaigns.
The Labour Court has held that a bankrupt company's continuation of operations was a transfer of business. The receiving company thus applied incorrect notice periods to employees who were made redundant. The company was sentenced to pay the employees their outstanding notice period salaries. However, it was not considered to have deliberately violated the collective agreement.
In a recent case referred by a district court regarding the validity of a stabilisation agreement based on a collective agreement, the Labour Court ruled that an employee who is not a member of a labour union that is party to a collective agreement is equally bound by restrictions deriving from the agreement as union-member employees. The court's reasoning was based on, among other things, the duty to treat employees equally.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act has been amended to expressly include issues relating to working hours as a potential cause of risks and hazards to employees' health and safety at work, and thus to be identified and analysed by employers. The amendment enters into force on June 1 2013.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that payment of unequal salaries to employees performing the same duties was justified based on different applicable collective agreements. The decision seems to indicate that the prohibition against discrimination does not give the employee a right to receive employment-related benefits based on the collective agreement that is more beneficial to him or her in that situation.
Amendments to annual holiday legislation have recently been proposed. The revisions concern the calculation of holiday pay for employees receiving monthly or weekly pay and the removal of the qualifying period relating to employees who fall ill during annual holiday. Further amendments to the calculation of holiday compensation at the expiry of employment are proposed.
The validity of illegal industrial action and the threat of fines were recently assessed in connection with a strike undertaken by employees of national carrier Finnair. As a temporary precautionary measure, a district court prohibited the action by threating the striking employees with a €2.8 million fine. Since then, both the legal validity of the decision and the size of the threatened fine have been the subject of debate.