Labor market | Purra and the employee organizations got into a dispute – HS goes through what the crisis situation is all about

Finance Minister Riikka Purra (ps) accused SAK of lying, distorting and threatening. SAK and its unions are about to start a series of protests. HS goes through what the tense situation is all about.

Government and organizations representing workers have been drawn into the controversy because Petteri Orpon The (kok) government plans to cut social security and implement reforms that are unpopular with the unions.

On Friday, the Minister of Finance, chairman of Basic Finns Riikka Purra accused the central organization of Finnish trade unions, SAK including lying, misrepresentation and threats.

SAK and its member unions again had announced on Thursday that they would organize in the next three weeks, several different protests against the government’s plans.

HS goes through what it’s all about.

What happens next?

SAK and its member unions said on Thursday that protests will be organized for three weeks, three days a week.

So far, the reported actions have been relatively moderate: The Industrial Union said on Friday that they will organize hour-long walkouts next week at some factories in northern Finland. On Saturday, Teollisuusliitto, Trade Union Pro and Sähköliitto said they would organize next week there will be work stoppages, walkouts and demonstrations at various workplaces also in Satakunta and Varsinais-Suomi.

The service industry trade union Pam, on the other hand, organizes demonstrations, which are attended outside working hours.

At Thursday’s press conference, the union leaders said that even tougher measures may be in the offing. Actions are told step by step.

Orpo has invited representatives of both wage earners’ and employers’ central organizations To the summer beach on Wednesday.

What are unions against?

The unions oppose the government’s social security cuts and working life reforms.

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As part of its first budget, the government will save on housing benefits and unemployment insurance, among other things. Next year, the plan is to get even more savings from the earnings-related unemployment benefit.

The government’s working life reforms can be divided into three parts:

Restriction of the right to strike. The government is supposed to complete its reforms to the labor peace or strike legislation by October. Among other things, the government wants to rein in political industrial disputes by limiting them to 24 hours. The trade union movement opposes this.

Promoting local agreement. At the moment, the legislation prohibits agreeing on some provisions related to working hours in the workplace in an unusual way, unless the employer is a member of the employers’ organization itself and complies with the national collective agreement. The government wants local bargaining to be possible regardless of organization and also with a company-level collective agreement. The working group’s work on promoting local agreements is scheduled to be completed in the spring.

other working life reforms. A number of other reforms are included in the government program. The government is aiming to shorten the waiting period for layoffs, remove the readmission obligation from companies with less than 50 employees, and make it possible to enter into a one-year fixed-term employment contract without the special justification that is now required.

Trade unions and opposition parties have been in the public eye, especially the “sickness fine” and the firing law”. With colored expressions, the unions mean the government’s intention to make the first day of sick leave unpaid, unless otherwise agreed in the collective agreement, and to make it easier to dismiss on personal grounds, so that the reason must be “reasonable”. Currently, a “compelling and relevant” reason is required.

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Female-dominated public sector employee unions are particularly upset by the government’s aim to enact a law according to which the national conciliator, secondary conciliators or conciliation boards could no longer offer wage increases better than the so-called “general line” with their proposals.

How does the government justify its actions?

The government justifies the social security cuts with the employment effects and the need to reduce Finland’s indebtedness.

In particular, several leading politicians of the Prime Minister’s Party coalition have stated that Finland needs to move in a “Nordic direction” in the labor market and the employment rate. For example, changes to the labor peace legislation are justified by the practice of other Nordic countries, as is the concretization of the “general line” into law.

Also, for example, the promotion of local bargaining and some other labor market reforms are justified by the fact that they lower the risk of hiring and thereby promote employment.

Do the claims stick?

The government implements its promised spending cuts with a large part of the savings for social security. Some of these also have employment effects: for example, the first reforms to earnings-related unemployment insurance implemented this year will bring an estimated 20,000 additional jobs.

Instead, for example, housing benefit cuts or promoting local agreements at least not according to the estimate of the Ministry of Finance more employment. This does not directly mean that the reforms cannot improve employment. It is about the fact that the ministry does not have available research literature that would support the claim.

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When talking about “Nordicism”, both trade unions and the government are happy to point out examples they like. It is true that Swedish legal practice has limited political industrial disputes. No time limit however, according to experts found in legislation and not in case law.

It is difficult to assess the real effect of the recording of the facilitation of dismissal before the case law. In practice, the courts will have to weigh in time what kind of personal dismissal is legal under the new law.

On Friday Purra and chairman of the Finnish Industry Association Riku Aalto had a public debate about, among other things, the lack of pay for the first day of sick leave.

“There are no automatic cuts to anyone’s sick pay. Such a claim is simply a lie.” Bite said according to the release.

“If he is of the opinion that it has no effect, then it would be worthwhile to think about whether it is worth making that legislation in the first place, which has no practical significance”, Aalto answered Purra in an interview with STT.

However, Purra’s claim is not true, because approximately 11 percent of employees in Finland are outside collective agreements. They would be directly affected by the change, unless they have agreed on the matter in their own employment contracts.

In addition, the collective agreement of some sectors does not agree on sick leave pay. They too are paid for sick time directly in accordance with the law.

Unpaid sick leave days may also come up in all sectors when collective agreements are next negotiated.

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