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National conciliator tweeted on labour dispute talks

A complainant criticised the fact that the National Conciliator had disseminated information on labour dispute talks in late 2015 using her personal Twitter account, whereas no news releases were posted on the National Conciliator's website.

The situation has improved

At the time the complaint was filed, the National Conciliator had a static information site in connection with the website of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, where it was not possible to post news. The Office's own website was under development.

The National Conciliator's new website was launched in April 2016. Topical information on labour dispute talks is published on this site both in Finnish and Swedish. The National Conciliator has also tweeted on the progress of the talks. These tweets can be read on the website in real time.

However, the main source of information on the talks for the general public has always been media interviews.

Fast communication is a challenge

Deputy-Ombudsman Jussi Pajuoja found that the National Conciliator's information activities have improved essentially both regarding their coverage and in terms of meeting the language requirements. The fact that the tweets only come out in Finnish may, however, be considered a problem from the perspective of the Language Act. This is emphasised as the Conciliator actively and rapidly releases situation-specific information.

In the Deputy-Ombudsman's view, the National Conciliator should be prepared to use both national languages simultaneously, also on Twitter, in rapidly changing situations related to labour disputes. This is particularly important as Twitter is currently the fastest channel for communicating information produced by the Conciliator herself.

The Deputy-Ombudsman's decision of 8 September 2016, record no 5117/4/15, can be accessed at http://www.oikeusasiamies.fi/.

Further information is available from Principal Legal Adviser Juha Niemelä, tel. +358 (0)9 432 3356.