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Government prepares employment programme to help victims of job cuts

UPM decision surprised key ministers

Government prepares employment programme to help victims of job cuts
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Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen announced the formation this week of a working group embracing three ministries, to consider ways to alleviate or possibly to prevent negative effects of the massive UPM job cutbacks in communities where the factories are located.
      Vanhanen noted that the state has positions available to it at local Employment and Economic Development Centres (TE Centres), which the state administration can use in structural change areas. "The coordination group must strengthen these activities, and hold cooperation talks. The primary goal is to ascertain if all of the job cuts are necessary", the Prime Minister said.
      The goal is to set up the same kind of employment programme that was drafted about two years ago for the benefit of those who lost their jobs when the Wärtsila diesel factory was shut down in Turku.
"When the government decides on state subsidy regions this month, the decisions will certainly reflect these unfortunate recent items of news", Vanhanen continued. The actual amounts of money to be spent were not mentioned.
      Trade and Industry Minister Mauri Pekkarinen (Centre) said that the amount of money paid out from state coffers will be small.
      Minister of Labour Tarja Filatov (SDP) said that the matter remains open, and that more money would be forthcoming in a supplementary budget.
      Filatov emphasised the importance of labour market policy actions in seeking jobs to replace the ones that are being lost. She also said that she hoped that the actual numbers of job losses will be fewer than were announced on Wednesday.
      She recalled that last year, 20,000 people faced the employment axe in the same manner, but that ultimately, "only" 6,000 actually lost their jobs.
Finance Minister Eero Heinäluoma (SDP) called the UPM case the "most massive and most shocking" case of job cuts in recent times.
      "Part of social responsibility is to take responsibility for personnel. If it appears that there is indifference in the face of this responsibility, it reduces the credibility of business and trade when it presents demands to society", Heinäluoma said.

Helsingin Sanomat

  9.3.2006 - TODAY
 Government prepares employment programme to help victims of job cuts

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