Akava: Labour market crisis must be averted – we propose reconciliation to the Government

Akava views that the Government’s planned working life reforms weaken, in an unprecedented manner, the possibilities of employees to negotiate important working conditions and defend their rights. Akava is critical of and rejects the Government’s working life policies, but proposes reconciliation to avoid a crisis in the labour market. Akava’s Board discussed the situation and defined its stance on the labour legislation proposals in its meeting in Helsinki on 11 September. 


“The Government’s objectives to stabilise public finances and promote employment are important. As the means to accomplish these objectives, the Government has chosen to directly use the objectives put forth by the employer associations. These changes call for a fair balance. If realised as such, the proposed labour legislation reforms would lead to increased uncertainty, weakened trust and, potentially, a crisis in the labour market. This cannot be anyone’s objective”, says Maria Löfgren, President of Akava.

Akava proposes that the Government and other labour market parties utilise reconciliation to resolve the issue. The process to develop salary negotiations outlined by Minister of Employment Arto Satonen is a positive gesture, based on which the unions may find common ground.

“I have proposed to Prime Minister Petteri Orpo that the objectives concerning labour legislation and unemployment security be looked at as a whole. We emphasise that real negotiations must be started on the issue with the aim of finding a balanced solution. The creation of new jobs requires that employees are comfortable at work and have the opportunity to learn new things. Weakening the position of employees cannot strengthen employment or improve the sustainability of public finances. I truly hope that the Government assesses the situation from a more comprehensive perspective and wants to find a solution”, Löfgren adds.

“The Government Programme has several items that are impossible from our perspective, such as the provision of a statutory labour market model allowing the Government and political decision-makers to interfere in salary negotiations, personal fines for industrial action and loosening the grounds for fixed-term employment contracts. The possibilities for education during a working career should be improved. The Government’s planned termination of the adult education allowance would be toxic to Akava members, unless a new system to enable education is created”, says Ville Kopra, Akava’s Labour Market Director.

Akava feels that, when aiming for employment growth, the only criterion cannot be the increase in the number of employed persons, as the improvement of the quality of working life is also necessary.

“We, at Akava, are prepared to negotiate on many working life issues. In the face of unreasonable weakening proposals, we will prepare for action. Together with our unions, we will closely monitor the Government’s reaction to our proposal”, Löfgren continues.

Akava’s media conference on 11 September at 6.30 p.m. can be viewed online at https://webcasting.fi/akava/HVc7pnzC/

More information

Maria Löfgren, President, tel. +358 (0)40 568 2798

Ville Kopra, Labour Market Director, tel. +358 (0)40 826 1358