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Jari Lindström (BR), the Minister of Employment, talked to the media about the long-running dispute between the government and trade unions over a proposal to ease laying off for small businesses in Helsinki on Wednesday, 10 October. (Credit: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)
Jari Lindström (BR), the Minister of Employment, talked to the media about the long-running dispute between the government and trade unions over a proposal to ease laying off for small businesses in Helsinki on Wednesday, 10 October. (Credit: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

 

Minister of Employment Jari Lindström (BR) says he does not expect the long-running dispute over a government proposal to mitigate the risks associated with hiring for small businesses to be resolved before the weekend.

“It’d be a miracle if [a solution was found before the weekend],” he stated to Uusi Suomi on Wednesday.

Lindström confirmed in a press conference yesterday that negotiations between the government and trade unions are in a deadlock, after the unions turned down an amended version of the much-discussed legislative proposal.

“We’ve talked to them about their expectations. And pretty often their response is to ask us to withdraw [the proposal]. And then the government says it won’t withdraw it,” he summarised.

A number of trade unions have announced and launched industrial actions in protest of the proposal that would allow businesses with no more than 10 employees to lay off employees on personal grounds.

Juha Mutru, the chairperson of the Finnish Port Operators’ Association, told Uusi Suomi on Wednesday that the overtime and shift-trading ban launched by transport workers has had an immediate impact on port operations. He expressed his hope that a solution is reached before the weekend as the only regular, non-overtime weekend shift at ports is on Saturday morning.

“It’s a long time between the end of Saturday morning’s shift and the start of the next regular shift on Monday morning,” he highlighted.

Lindström was adamant that the government has no intention to back down in the dispute in spite of the threats of trade unions to step up their protests. Caving in to the demands of trade unions, he explained, would set a dangerous precedent going forward.

“We’ve got a mandate to proceed with proposals. Letting an extra-parliamentary force dictate what we do […] would set a precedent that whenever there’s an unpleasant proposal you could get the government to withdraw it by acting like this. That can’t be the case,” he underscored.

He also emphasised that the legislative proposal is a genuine attempt to improve the national employment situation, rather than to generate benefits for a particular interest group.

Entrepreneurs, he added, would be in a key position if the proposal was passed: “Small companies make up 93.3 per cent [of all companies]. That’s a huge number, and there’s huge employment potential there.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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