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A statutory order for lay-offs could work in the public sector but not in the construction industry given the physical nature of work, says Kyösti Suokas, the chairperson of the Finnish Construction Trade Union (Credit: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva)
A statutory order for lay-offs could work in the public sector but not in the construction industry given the physical nature of work, says Kyösti Suokas, the chairperson of the Finnish Construction Trade Union (Credit: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva)

 

Kyösti Suokas, the chairperson of the Finnish Construction Trade Union, has shot down a proposal to oblige employers to make lay-offs in an order partly based on seniority.

The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) last week floated the idea of prescribing in law that employers make redundancies in an order determined based on factors such as the professional skills, length of employment and number of dependants of employees.

“We believe such an arrangement would reduce the arbitrariness of employers and promote employment,” wrote Ilkka Kaukoranta, the chief economist at SAK.

Kaukoranta conceded that an order based partly on the length of employment relationships would in practice strengthen the protection against dismissal of old employees at the expense of that of young employees. By taking into account the number of dependants, however, it would be possible to bolster the protection against dismissal of employees with young children, he estimated.

Suokas on Monday expressed his doubts that such a system could work in the construction industry, given the physical nature of work.

“The objective is to guarantee older employees have jobs until retirement age. Such a law could work in the public sector, as well as at some major industrial employers. But for the construction industry the proposal is like a puff of dust from a chest of souvenirs that has been laying around in storage,” he stated in his blog.

He reminded that although the life expectancy is on the rise, the human body cannot handle more than its share of hard manual labour. Builders, he highlighted, retire on disability pension on average at the age of 52 and leave working life through other channels on average at the age of 58.

“The numbers have not changed for decades,” said Suokas.

The Finnish Construction Trade Union is a member of SAK.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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