The European Commission’s objective on fair minimum wages is important – well-functioning systems based on nationwide collective agreements must be safeguarded

The Finnish trade union confederations SAK and STTK, representing 1,4 million workers and employees in Finland, appreciate the European Commission’s ambition to promote fair wages in Europe. SAK and STTK find it of paramount importance that the Commission is committed to respecting national traditions on wage-setting and the fundamental role of the social partners, as stated by the President Ursula von der Leyen in her political guidelines.

The European Commission’s initiative, whatever legal form it takes, should advance the improvement of minimum wages in low-wage EU Member States, while securing wage-setting based on national, nationwide collective agreements where such systems exist. No Member State should be required to introduce statutory minimum wages.

In the case of Finland, the national system of extension of collective agreements is essential. The extension mechanism obliges unorganized employers to comply with the provisions on wages and other terms of employment in the relevant nationwide collective agreement that is considered representative in their sector. This system is crucial in securing the achievement of the Commission’s objective of fair wages.

In addition to the initiative on minimum wages, SAK and STTK expect the European Commission to take further measures in strengthening the role of the social partners. In the case of wages, in particular, prerequisites for (national) sectoral wage-setting through collective agreements should be strengthened all around Europe. Collective bargaining and extensive collective agreements are the primary means to ensuring fair wages and other working conditions.

SAK and STTK will provide a more detailed position on the European minimum wage initiative once the European Commission publishes its proposal. SAK and STTK are members of the ETUC and have actively participated in the European trade union response to the European Commission´s first and second phase consultations on the matter.

More information:

  • Ms Katja LEHTO-KOMULAINEN, Director, FinUnions. tel. +32 492 41 61 17, katja.lehto-komulainen@finunions.org
  • Mr Pekka RISTELÄ, Head of International Affairs, SAK. tel. +358 40 546 8781, pekka.ristela@sak.fi
  • Ms Maria HÄGGMAN, Head of International Affairs, STTK. tel. +358 40 148 9091, maria.haggman@sttk.fi

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