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Thousands participated in a demonstration against the activation model for unemployment security organised by the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) in Helsinki on 2 February, 2018.
Thousands participated in a demonstration against the activation model for unemployment security organised by the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) in Helsinki on 2 February, 2018.

 

Matti Huutola, the director of union support at the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), has claimed that the government’s focus on punitive measures such as the activation model has led to the impoverishment of the unemployed rather than higher employment rates.

“The government’s actions are neither socially justified, nor politically sustainable,” he declared in a speech in Jyväskylä on Saturday.

Huutola recommended that the government shift its focus to finding new measures to promote employment and reminded that the national unemployment rate has remained high in spite of the improving employment situation.

He also admitted that the unemployed may live in parts of the country with a scarcity of job openings and lack the skills required in the working life.

“Finland continues to have more than 660,000 working-age people who depend solely on basic education. We can improve the skills [of job seekers] by lengthening compulsory education and encouraging people to study alongside work and when they’re unemployed,” he stated.

Housing and transport policy, meanwhile, could be means to address the mismatch between job openings and job seekers, according to Huutola.

“You could guarantee the accessibility of jobs by building residential units in the right areas and maintaining good transport services. Elderly care, early-childhood education and other public services must also be taken care of to make working possible.”

Finland’s unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 8.8 per cent between January, 2017, and January, 2018, according to Statistics Finland. When adjusted to seasonal and random variation, the unemployment rate stood at 8.5 per cent and the employment rate at 70.9 per cent.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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