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Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) believes it would be unreasonable to force paper workers to consent to waiving wage hikes for another year.
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) believes it would be unreasonable to force paper workers to consent to waiving wage hikes for another year.

 

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) has gone back on his word by commenting on the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations between the Finnish Forest Industries and the Finnish Paper Workers’ Union.

Sipilä told MTV on Wednesday that the employers’ demands for waiving wage increases for another year are unreasonable.

“My personal opinion, even though I promised not to get involved in this, is that a zero [wage increase] is unreasonable,” he commented before voicing his hope that both parties to the gridlocked negotiations adopt a patient and practical approach to the process.

The Finnish Forest Industries has proposed employee representatives that the current collective bargaining agreement for paper workers be extended by one year.

Harri Merlin, a professor of sociology at the University of Tampere, says he was not surprised that a leading policy maker decided comment on the demands of forest industry employers.

“I was actually waiting for an influential minister to say something to speed up the negotiations,” he said to Kauppalehti on Wednesday. “The economy is growing against the backdrop of a growth and employment pact that effectively saw wage earners consent to lowering their wages. A wage freeze is unreasonable in these circumstances.”

Petri Vanhala, the chairperson of the Finnish Paper Workers’ Union, has warned that unless the employers revise their offer the union is likely to organise a strike.

“We haven’t made a decision on striking, but if we get out of this situation without any disruptions to industrial peace, I think it’d be a small miracle,” he commented in an interview with Talouselämä on Friday.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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