Employers pull out of negotiations for national labour market pact


Antti Palola, STTK

The negotiations to draft a comprehensive labour market pact ended in the early hours of the morning of 2 November.

Now the country is heading towards implementation of the severe cuts in incomes and labour rights planned by the right-wing Government. The employers association EK pulled out, claiming the reason behind their decision was that one of the unions had announced they would not join the national pact.

The Government had said it would consider cancelling its controversial labour market legislation should the social partners reach an agreement that satisfies the Government. Now it will go on with it’s original plans. The trade union confederations are extremely disappointed about the failure of the negotiations.

– A good attempt failed even before a possible joint proposal due to all kinds of unconditional demands. There should have been more flexibility from all sides, says Antti Palola, Chairperson of the Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK.

STTK is in favour of an agreement, Palola says.

– With such a laissez-faire attitude towards the labour market Finland can not be successful.  Now we are heading towards very broken and heavy union level negotiations under the shadow of stringent Government legislation, he adds.

The agreement could have encompassed 97 per cent of Finnish labour even without the one union that was not willingly to join. Previous national labour market pacts have covered slightly more than 90 per cent. This has been enough for employers before.