Helsinki (21.01.2021 – Heikki Jokinen)
Two Finnish trade union confederations SAK and STTK view the EU Commission proposal for a minimum wage positively and support its objectives. The federations issued a joint statement on this in December.
They attach much importance to the fact that the draft directive is strongly based on the promotion of collective bargaining. The federations place great value on promoting a system based on sectoral collective agreements in the member states as a key element in the proposal. This resembles the Finnish labour market model, too.
“The directive must support an increase in the minimum wage, especially in low-wage EU countries, and the best way to do this is through collective bargaining”, the federations say. A comprehensive collective bargaining system is the wage and salary earners’ best friend, experience has shown.
The directive proposal would not be a threat to the Finnish collective bargaining system, the federations believe. “The proposal does not require the introduction of a statutory minimum wage in EU countries, nor does it include measures that have a direct impact on wage levels”, the statement says.
Decisions on wages and salaries can continue to be based entirely on collective agreements, the federations stress. The proposal does not impinge on labour market parties’ competence either.
Pekka Ristelä, Head of International Affairs of SAK says on the SAK web page that the proposed directive will change the direction of EU policy. Up till now the EU has been trying to push member states to adopt a labour market policy including flexibility of wages at individual company level.
“The directive now aims at agreeing terms of employment in national sectoral collective agreements, negotiated by the unions representing employees and employers”, Ristelä says.
Ristelä sees the directive as especially important for the countries where employees’ right to organise and negotiate a collective agreement is restricted.
“The directive supports the trade union movement in many EU countries in their work to promote collective bargaining. In this way it also promotes improvement in wages and other terms of employment.”