The Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) has turned down the notion of employees being paid wages that are not enough to cover the cost of living in Finland.
EK is of the opinion that the current system of wage determination is excessively rigid but believes the starting point should invariably be that employees can live on the wages they are paid, says Jyri Häkämies, the director general at EK.
“The starting point and the objective should be that wages are enough to live on,” he says in an interview with Uusi Suomi.
Björn Wahlroos, the board chairman at Nordea and Sampo, suggested yesterday that if the country is intent on succeeding in the increasingly global competitive landscape, it should consider supplementing the wages of low-paid employees with a basic income scheme. Basic income in conjunction with lower minimum wage rates, he estimated, would encourage job seekers to accept job offers.
- Finland needs basic income and low-paid jobs, says Wahlroos (15 September, 2016)
“I agree to the extent that we'd naturally need more flexibility when it comes to wages,” says Häkämies. “The fact that we currently have 50,000 job openings […] is a sign that the system must be improved somehow.”
Häkämies points out that a number of citizens, including those in employment, already have to rely on a variety of social security benefits, such as the housing allowance, to cover their basic costs. EK is according to him in favour of consolidating the plethora of benefits in order to remove inactivity traps.
He also underlines that an increase in local bargaining will not necessarily result in lower wages in sectors that are struggling to compete in the global marketplace.
“Local bargaining deals with a number of issues – with how and when work is done, with flexibility in working hours. It isn't a wage cut, but it's more about being fast and flexible,” he explains. “The idea is to be able to better take into consideration the differences between sector.”
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi