The Trade Union Confederations accept a negotiated continuation of the national pact for employment and growth. This was initially settled in October 2013 for a two-year period with an optional third year. Now this option has been agreed upon. Basically, the agreement will raise pay by 16 euro a month but at least by 0.43 per cent. This means that incomes of under 3 720 euro a month will get a flat rise of 16 euro and higher salaries will see an increase of 0.43 per cent.
The unemployment insurance contribution will go up by 0.5 percentage points for both employees and employers. This contribution covers a part of unemployment benefits. All three Trade Union Confederations Akava, SAK and STTK accept the negotiated proposal. “The most important thing is to have more secure employment and inject a measure of predictability into the workplace”, says Akava chairperson Sture Fjäder.
-Wage and salary earners have been supporting efforts to boost employment by signing up to extremely moderate wage agreements for five years now. It is now up to the employers to do their part and show there is a commitment to sustaining jobs and creating new ones. Low pay rise demands should be seen for what they are – a sign of trust and a positive response to the entreaties of the employers and the Government, Fjäder says.
Agreement covers 90 per cent of employees
SAK chairperson Lauri Lyly underlines that this agreement supports the purchasing power of those with smaller incomes. The Government has already said it will cut the income tax for low and middle-income earners. That together with this pact will guarantee the purchasing power of those with small and medium incomes, Lyly stresses. Lyly further says that SAK will also take care of the unemployed and guarantee the financing of unemployment benefits. For this reason they supported the higher unemployment insurance contribution.
Two of SAK member unions voted against the pact, the Transport Workers’ Union AKT and the Finnish Seafarers’ Union. They will negotiate their own collective agreements. This should not block the pact, as most unions have accepted it. The agreement will affect almost 2 million employees in Finland, around 90 per cent of wage and salary earners. The employers’ associations have unanimously accepted the pact.
STTK’s board also signed the agreement. Chairperson Antti Palola is satisfied with the result.
– Everyone will get a general rise. The agreement supports the purchasing power of those on low and medium incomes and advances equality in areas of pay. Palola say that this pact paves the way for negotiations on the social contract proposed by the Government. “It is a major challenge, but reforms are obviously needed. The goal of STTK is to strike a balance, not to impose the unilateral will of wage and salary earners.