Antti Palola, the president of the Finnish Confederation of Professionals (STTK), has expressed his concerns about two aspects of the employment and entrepreneurship package unveiled by the National Coalition Party: the proposal to abolish the premiums paid for work on Sundays and the proposal to encourage pensioners to remain in the working life.
“Working on Sundays is not a choice made by employees in many sectors that maintain functions vital for the welfare state – such as the health care and security sectors,” he points out in a blog post dated 29 July. “It is a must, because it is part of the nature of the job.”
The premiums, he estimates, make up a substantial share of the earnings of employees in a number of sectors where it is common to work on Sundays. “If the double wage rates for work on Sundays are removed from the legislation, they would have to be compensated for in [collective] agreements,” states Palola.
- Vartiainen: Sunday premium cuts could be offset by raising weekday pay (19 July, 2016)
- Soini: Sunday bonuses are off-limits (18 July, 2016)
“If the current premiums make it not worthwhile to have someone work on Sundays, the work can be left undone. Let's keep Sunday as a day of rest as far as it is at all possible,” he proposes.
One of the authors of the employment and entrepreneurship package, Juhana Vartiainen (NCP), revealed roughly a week ago that he is surprised by the uproar stirred up by the proposal to abolish the premiums.
“Finland has the most powerful trade union movement in the world, and trade unions naturally do not have to approve of any reduction in Sunday premiums that is not supported by their members. That is why I find it difficult to understand the extent of the unease,” he explained.
“Basically everyone or almost everyone working on Sundays can retain the premiums laid out in the current collective agreements, if trade unions so decide,” added Vartiainen.
Palola also said he is concerned with the proposal to encourage pensioners to remain in the working life by relieving them of certain obligations set forth in collective agreements.
“If realised, the proposal would quickly result in [the development of] a second-class labour market as pensioners, as a more affordable part of the workforce, would at least partly replace the inputs of working age people,” he said.
“I am not against pensioners working and accumulating additional income,” he clarified, “but they must do so in accordance with agreements.”
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Petteri Paalasmaa – Uusi Suomi
Source: Uusi Suomi