Finland could slide into a crisis if labour market organisations are unable to find an agreement on the so-called social contract, warns Minna Helle, the National Conciliator.
Helle expressed her concerns about the difficult negotiations after several affiliate unions of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) – including the 230,000-member Service Union United (PAM) – announced that they have rejected the settlement brokered by labour market bosses last week.
“The situation is disconcerting,” she tweeted on Saturday. “I hope everyone remains patient. An agreement is preferable to the crisis we would face if the social contract fell through.”
The executive board of SAK is expected to discuss – and effectively decide the fate of – the settlement on Monday.
“SAK will review the deal on Monday. No one should jump to conclusions. We have to assess the reasons and measures to solve the situation as well as how to proceed,” Lauri Lyly, the president at SAK, tweeted on Friday.
- Stubb: Social contract a leap in right direction, but more work is needed (03 March, 2016)
- Sipilä: Social contract allows Finland to catch up with Sweden (03 March, 2016)
- Ministry of Finance: Social contract falls short of objectives (02 March, 2016)
- Sipilä: A number of questions remain unanswered (01 March, 2016)
Erkki Tuomioja (SDP), an ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs, gauged that the preconditions for reaching an agreement have improved after the Government substituted coercion for conciliation.
“It is possible that an agreement could have been found months ago had it not been for the Government's attempts to bully and dictate. The Government seems to have smartened up,” he writes on Facebook.
“There are deep-rooted reservations in the labour markets, and no one can market the agreement by claiming that it will pull the Finnish economy out of the mud, let alone improve the position of employees. There are better alternatives, but they would not be realised even if the agreement fell through. It is also difficult to see how a failure to reach an agreement could improve the conditions in Finland and the position of employees.”
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) reminded on Saturday that if an agreement cannot be reached, the Government will have to weigh up other measures to improve the employment situation.
“I wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror three years from now, if we fell short of the employment target. There's no plan B, if the [social contract] falls through,” he said in an interview on YLE TV1.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi