Labour market organisations seek framework agreement
Main confederations holding behind-the-scenes talks
Finland’s main labour market confederations have been holding talks in recent days on a contract on economic policy aimed at promoting employment. The negotiators also hope to decide on a framework for pay increases.
The aim is to reach a common agreement the framework for possible pay hikes. Specific pay rises are to be sorted out in talks with individual labour unions and employers’ organisations, based on a framework agreed upon by the central organisations
The Confederation of Finnish Industry (EK) is involved in the talks, even though centralised labour contracts were given up at its insistence.
According to a news report on the commercial television network MTV3, the government has tried to persuade the EK to agree to a framework contract by offering a reduction of two or three points in the 26 per cent corporate tax.
In addition to the EK negotiators representing management interests include the Commission for Local Authority Employers (KT), the Office for the Government as Employer, and the labour market organisation of the Finnish Lutheran Church.
Taking part in the talks on the labour side are the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), the Finnish Confederation of Professionals (STTK), and the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff (AKAVA).
In the winter, unions in the export sector will be at the negotiating table, and the management side wants to avoid excessive pay increases, which might hurt competitiveness.
The EK decided to enter the talks, because the 0.5 per cent maximum that it has promoted for pay increases has not held. This means that there is a danger of wage competition.
The forest industry has said that it can only accept a flat zero per cent for pay increases. This demand has formed an impediment to a framework contract. The labour side, meanwhile, is rejecting the proposed 0.5 per cent limit.
Thursday could be a decisive day for a possible framework contract. Helsingin Sanomat has learned that the atmosphere was somewhat tense on Wednesday evening.
The government hopes that pay increases will be moderate. Minister of Finance Jyrki Katainen (Nat. Coalition Party) has promised to refrain from increases in income taxes if an agreement is reached.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Unions give conditional support to Katainen employment contract (2.12.2009)