Helsinki (24.7.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) The Finnish Government will withdraw a planned proposal for amending the Employment Contracts Act by allowing an employer to make, without restrictions, fixed-term employment contracts with anyone under 30 years of age who has been an unemployed job seeker for at least three months.
The existing legislation demands a justifiable reason for a fixed-term employment contract.
Trade union federations are very pleased with the decision. They have been opposing the proposal all the way since it was first announced in April.
The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK insisted in the end of June the Government call a halt to this proposal and other plans to weaken employment security. The Federation made it clear that if these proposals were to go ahead, it would take action at places of employment.
Several trade unions have been campaigning vehemently against the proposal, pointing out that it discriminates against people on the basis of age. This is forbidden under the Finnish constitution.
This was finally understood by the Government itself, too.
"It would have been possible to create a model that complied with constitutional and international obligations, but it would have been burdenous on bureaucracy and its impact would have been weak," the Government statement said with surprising honesty concerning the proposal.
"We are satisfied with the Government decision to call an end to preparations for the amendment", says Lotta Savinko, Senior Specialist at Akava, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland.
"Akava wants to support employment for young people and strengthen their position in the labour market in every way. The now withdrawn proposal would have been a wrong move", she adds.
Legislation to make dismissals easier still moving forward
The Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK is also satisfied that the Government has decided to bury its plan. STTK Lawyer Inka Douglas says that weakening the terms of work for young people is discriminating and increases their economic insecurity.
The best way to improve young people’s employment is to guarantee good education and training and the further development of this key aspect, she adds.
The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK says that the Government decision to cancel its proposal was right. "To increase insecurity in employment is not the right way to improve employment. Measures should be focused on developing competence and preventing marginalisation", a SAK press release says.
However, the Government still wants to move ahead with legislation to make it easier for companies with 20 or less employees to remove or let go employees.
The trade union federations do oppose this, too, stressing that it is discriminatory. If the Government chooses to push this proposal forward, it might create a turbulence in the labour market this autumn.
The SAK Board will meet on 13 August to discuss the situation. After that its member unions will make their own decisions on possible actions to stop the new discriminatory legislation.