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It is impossible to proceed with the so-called social contract as long as nearly half of the affiliate unions of SAK continue to oppose it, Jyri Häkämies, the director general at EK, said after appearing before the press on Monday.Jyri Häkämies, the director general at the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK), has voiced his satisfaction with the decision of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) to give its tentative approval to a settlement on measures to boost the competitiveness of domestic businesses – the so-called social contract.

He also poured cold water on the hopes of integrating the settlement into collective agreements by drawing attention to its low coverage among the affiliate unions of SAK.

No more than roughly 60 per cent of the affiliate unions of SAK voted on Monday for the integration of the settlement into their collective agreements. The social contract would, as a result, cover approximately 80 per cent of all employees in Finland.

Häkämies argues that it is impossible to move forward as long as almost half of the affiliate unions of SAK continue to oppose the settlement. “We're currently unable to launch union-specific negotiations because the settlement can't be approved with these parameters,” he said at a press conference on Monday.

EK underscores in a press release that the settlement is of such importance to Finland and Finnish workplaces that it must cover everyone. “The ball is now firmly in the court of SAK. The work to fulfil the coverage [criteria] must continue,” says Häkämies.

Matti Tukiainen, the director of employment and sustainable growth at SAK, commented on the statement by Häkämies in an interview on YLE Radio Suomi later on Monday, estimating that the conditions imposed by EK are yet another stumbling block for the social contract.

SAK, he said, was hopeful it could continue its efforts to bump up the coverage of the settlement while conducting the union-specific negotiations.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Petteri Paalasmaa – Uusi Suomi
Source: Uusi Suomi

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