“While we share the Government’s objective of consolidating public finances and promoting employment, we are critical of the Government’s policy statements regarding working life policies, and strongly object to some of them. We propose that the Government and other social partners take the road of negotiation and bargaining, and hope to discuss the balancing factors we have proposed at the earliest opportunity. We want to avoid further uncertainty and loss of confidence in the labour market and society at large”, says Maria Löfgren, President of Akava.
Labour law reforms require balancing elements
“At Akava, we are prepared to support the line of reforms proposed in the Government Programme, as long as the reforms come with sufficient balancing elements. We call for co-operation to resolve the most difficult issues in order to achieve long-term commitment to development efforts”, Löfgren continues.
“We would also like to emphasise that when striving for sustainable employment growth, investments are needed to improve the quality of working life. We need more workplaces with thriving employee wellbeing in order to prolong careers, raise productivity and thereby achieve fiscal sustainability”, Löfgren stresses.
“The measures proposed by the Government to weaken employees’ position and social security are interlinked in many ways: measures such as loosening the grounds for dismissal and cuts in unemployment benefits affect the same people. Therefore, the objectives and means of labour law and unemployment security reforms need to be analysed as a whole. In our opinion, negotiations are needed urgently to identify a balanced solution”, Löfgren says.
“When the Finnish Government talks about introducing a new labour market model, it ignores elements that would promote good labour relations and benefit wage earners. Comparisons with the Swedish labour market system and labour legislation are futile if we fail to sufficiently consider all the different contributing elements. The starting point for negotiations between employers and employees in Sweden is more balanced, and in certain types of conflict, employees have the first right of interpretation and their representatives in the company management. In addition, proactive mediation supports negotiating and bargaining and provides impartial information on the economic outlook”, says Löfgren.
“We are working with our affiliates to bring various balancing elements into the work to develop the negotiation and bargaining systems: labour dispute mediation should be more proactive, and the Conciliator’s Office needs access to impartial salary statistics. One of the most problematic proposals the Government has made is to allow fixed-term employment contracts without grounds. Many proposals are being pushed forward in such a tight schedule that it is impossible to sufficiently analyse their pros and cons and their combined impact”, Löfgren notes.
“We need a modern and functional working life that befits Finland. We are prepared to build such a working life together with the Government and other social partners. Finding solutions together instead of allowing the labour market to drift into a crisis is in everyone’s best interest”, Löfgren concludes.
Maria Löfgren, President, tel. +358 (0)40 568 2798