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Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) gave his weekly interview to YLE Radio Suomi in Mikkeli on 18 March, 2017.
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) gave his weekly interview to YLE Radio Suomi in Mikkeli on 18 March, 2017.

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) has appealed to labour market organisations to keep a cool head in the run-up to the sector-specific collective bargaining talks scheduled to take place in the second half of 2017.

“The situation in the labour markets is alarming. I hope that everyone will keep a cool head this autumn and look at Finland’s situation as a whole instead of just the situation in their sector in order not to jeopardise the nascent improvements in the labour market,” he said during his weekly interview on YLE Radio Suomi on Saturday.

Sipilä broached on the ongoing labour dispute between the Finnish Aviation Union (IAU) and Service Sector Employers (Palta) by voicing his hope that the conciliation process is successful and reminding that interventions by the central administration have rarely proven helpful.

“The National Conciliator will hopefully find a settlement. Prolonged labour market disputes such as this are difficult for Finland. I’m confident that a settlement is found between the parties,” he said.

IAU has staged a number of strikes in protest of the new terms and conditions of employment applied by Airpro, a provider of airport services, causing both delays and cancellations at Helsinki Airport. 

Sipilä also revealed that the employment situation will be the focus of attention in the upcoming mid-term session of the Finnish Government.

“We have two options: The first one is to try increasing the number of available jobs, meaning measures to encourage investments and productivity. The second one is to [find ways] to get people to accept job offers,” he said. 

“We’re getting close to having 100,000 unfilled job vacancies.”

He also indicated that he is not surprised by the recent criticism levelled at the reform of social and health care services – one of the main projects of his Government. “Change doesn’t come easy. This is a Government that takes action instead of settling for words,” he stated.

One of the objectives of the reform is to grant social and health care customers greater freedom of choice over their service provider.

Osmo Soininvaara, a councillor for the City of Helsinki and an ex-chairperson of the Green League, has warned that granting greater freedom of choice to consumers could have disastrous financial consequences.

“The Ministry of Finance will ensure costs will not increase [as a consequence of the reform] and, thereby, an economic catastrophe will result in feelings of abjection in the care sector,” he wrote in his blog on 15 March.

Sipilä on Saturday reminded that the draft bill granting customers greater freedom of choice over their service provider is currently being circulated for comments.

“The Government proposal will be formulated based on the feedback we receive,” he said. “The freedom of choice will apply to each and every Finn, regardless of the thickness of their wallet. It’s absolutely clear that it’d reduce waiting times.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Timo Hartikainen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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