Heidi Schauman, the chief economist at Aktia, has joined the growing number of economists and policy-makers who have questioned the recent remarks of Veli-Matti Mattila, the chairman of the board at the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK).
“The overall situation isn’t that everyone’s wages are too high. Some sectors have such problems, but others don’t,” Schauman says in an interview with Kauppalehti.
On the other hand, she adds, there are also sectors where wages are too low, such as the female-dominated care sector.
Mattila recently called for wage moderation and other additional measures to reduce unit labour costs. Finns wages', he argued, remain 10–15 per cent too high for the country to catch up with its main rivals, Germany and Sweden.
“The competitiveness pact improved the situation, but many more competitiveness pacts are still needed,” he said to Helsingin Sanomat on Sunday.
Schauman believes wage differences between companies within sectors should be greater. “We should instead have greater differences between individuals, so that those who are more productive earn more and those who are less productive earn less,” she tells the commerce-oriented newspaper.
She also admits her surprise with the non-conciliatory approach adopted by EK. EK, she points out, has announced its decision to withdraw from central-level bargaining negotiations and yet seems determined to steer the negotiations.
Aktia on Monday also published its economic forecast for Finland, estimating that the national economy will expand by 1.4 per cent – instead of the 1.0 per cent forecast in November – in 2017.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Elias Lahtinen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi