Party and labour union leaders speak on May Day
The First of May is also a day of political speeches by party figures and labour union leaders. Social Democratic Party chairwoman, Minister of Finance Jutta Urpilainen, spoke in the southern Finnish city of Porvoo on Tuesday calling for moderation, fairness, and joint rules in incentive systems for corporations. In her speech she said that while pay and rewards are internal matters for individual companies, failures resonate extensively throughout society. She also called for more cooperation between the government and labour market organisations in developing well-being at work and promoting Finnish competitiveness.
She also said that moderation and mutual trust have been eroded by greed and old-boy networks. In her speech Urpilainen also called for more cooperation between the government and labour market organisations in developing well-being at work and promoting Finnish competitiveness.
Left Alliance chairman Paavo Arhinmäki called for the establishment of a popular movement against greed and market forces.
Speaking at events in Tampere, Kankaanpää, and Sastamala, Arhinmäki urged labour unions, NGOs, and leftists in Finland to join forces in a struggle against greed.
He also said that he hopes that this could be seen as a common goal for the Finnish labour movement.
Opposition Centre Party leader Mari Kiviniemi lashed out at the government in her First of May speech in Helsinki, saying that the government has been acting in a manner unbecoming to democracy.
Kiviniemi said that there had been serious shortcomings in the preparation of municipal and defence reform, and accused the government of indifference of how the changes affect different parts of the country.
In reference to keeping details of the agreement on collateral for loans to Greece, Kiviniemi said that the government has placed itself above the law.
Kiviniemi had refused to allow Paavo Väyrynen, one of the contenders for the Centre Party leadership, to speak at the event, saying that she wanted to avoid quarrels at the event.
In response, Väyrynen held the speech that he would have held at the rally on Tuesday in advance at the same location as the official speeches were held – at the statue of President Kyösti Kallio near the Finnish Parliament.
In the message, which was recorded and placed on Väyrynen’s website, he said that he wanted to make the Centre Party a party for all of the people.
In labour union speeches, Lauri Lyly, President of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), defended the framework agreement reached in negotiations among labour market organisations last autumn.
Speaking at Hakaniemi Square in Helsinki on Tuesday, Lyly said that if the agreement had not been reached, the entire winter would have been spent in hundreds of separate labour contract talks.
Metalworkers’ Union leader Riku Aalto urged workers to vote for the parties of the left in the municipal elections in the autumn. In his view, the problem is that the traditional working class has not been very eager to go to the polls in elections. He noted that there are signs of a resurgence of leftist candidates around Europe, such as Slovakia, France, and Sweden.