Trade Union News from Finland
Helsinki (11.11.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) The trade unions are ready to accept the tripartite proposal for an amendment to the Employment Contracts Act concerning the disputed dismissal paragraph. In practise the amendment will not change anything. Industrial action is over now, too.
The long struggle began when the right-wing Government tried to ease individual dismissal in companies with less than 20 employees. The unions were adamant that they would not accept any weakening of employment security.
Once strong resistance from the unions became clear the Government tried to salvage their proposal by setting the limit to 10 employees, but for the unions it was a question of principle, not a question of numbers. Government intransigence and their unwillingness to negotiate led to industrial action been taken by several unions in September and October.
Helsinki (29.10.2018 – Heikki Jokinen) The trade unions have interrupted their ongoing acts of industrial action to negotiate with the Finnish Government on their new proposal for labour market legislation.
The conflict between the right-wing Government and trade union movement had escalated steadily this autumn. The Unions have insisted all along that they do not accept the Government plan to ease individual dismissals in small companies.
In spite of this PM Sipilä was determined to press ahead with the legislation and showed extremely limited willingness to negotiate with the labour market organisations. This led to a growing number of incidents of industrial action by way of protest against the planned legislation, first with overtime and shift swap bans and then in October short strikes in several sectors.
Now the Government has backed off and proposed a set of measures to the trade unions on which to negotiate. The unions have responded by interrupting the ongoing and planned industrial action measures and said they are ready to negotiate.
Helsinki (16.10.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) PM Sipilä wants to undermine trade union movement resistance to the planned law allowing for easy dismissal in small companies by calling for a confidence vote in Parliament.
Parliament will debate the prime ministerial communique on Tuesday 16 October and hold a vote of confidence in the Government the following day. As PM Sipilä leads a majority Government, he is sure to win the vote.
Some observers view this highly unusual stratagem to avoid real negotiations with the trade unions as mere political play-acting. PM Sipilä explained the reason for his action by saying that after the confidence vote the unions would be protesting against a democratically elected Parliament, not the Government.
However, the bill is still under preparation and Parliament will not know what exactly is actually in it when voting on Wednesday. PM Sipilä furnished Parliament with a one page declaration saying that the objective of making dismissals easier is to improve the employment situation.
Helsinki (10.10.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) The dispute over Government efforts to make it easier to dismiss employees in small companies has not abated. Quite the contrary.
Trade unions are demanding an end to the preparations of the law amendment and are open to negotiations with the Government - which has shown no indication it is willing to negotiate.
SAK, the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions held a meeting of 500 of its affiliated unions decision-makers in Helsinki on Friday 5 October.
Their message was clear: the Government must drop the amendment. The unions do not accept that employment security should be based on the size of the company.
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