Monday, 19 November, 2018

Competitive edge package falls victim to rising labor row

20 Oct 2018, 00:25 ( 1 Month ago) | updated: 20 Oct 2018, 11:57 ( 29 days ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
File Photo SAK by Marjaana Malkamäki.

A further escalation looked likely late Friday in the conflict between Finnish trade unions and the three-party alliance government.

At least two major and several smaller labor actions are scheduled against the governmental plan for easier dismissals in small companies. Meanwhile the Entrepreneurs of Finland, which would likely benefit from the reform plan, demanded in their convention in Turku that political strikes should be prohibited.

The influential industrial workers union announced on Friday three-day strikes mainly in the wood working sector from next Thursday. On Monday and Tuesday public sector employees in catering and care sector will walk out. There will be labor actions by industrial office staff as well.

In a far reaching move, the industrial union said it will disengage from a deal to agree longer working hours. The deal was made with the government as part of the competitive edge package in 2016.

Riku Aalto, chairman of the industrial union, deplored that only the employees had to accept longer hours and reduced benefits in the competitive edge package, while planned cutbacks of state subsidies to enterprises were not done.

The technology industries federation reacted instantly to the pullout, saying the deal on longer hours had been beneficial. Its industrial relations director Minna Helle underlined the need to reach a solution and cautioned against disrupting the industrial relations further.

Päivi Niemi-Laine, chairman of the public welfare sector employees, said the government must choose between the competitive edge package and its easier dismissals plan.

The situation has been increasingly annoying to the major industries. The easier dismissals plan helps the small business sector, but the strikes and other measures mainly hit the major industries.

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä was on his way back from Brussels and not available for comment.

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