The Finnish government is crumbling the foundation of the competitiveness pact by overhauling the unemployment security system in an attempt to encourage job seekers to become more active in their efforts to find employment, says Ann Selin, the chairperson of Service Union United (PAM).
The so-called activation model will reduce benefits for job seekers who fail to work for a pre-determined number of hours or participate in employment services over a three-month period.
Job seekers who fail to satisfy the requirements will lose 4.65 per cent of their monthly unemployment benefits. The Finnish Parliament approved the overhaul of unemployment benefits by a vote of 103 for and 90 against on 19 December, 2017.
Selin reminds that PAM originally committed to the competitiveness pact on the condition that the position of unemployed job seekers will not be weakened. The government, she adds, had also promised to set aside the proposed cuts in unemployment benefits.
“Wage earners were widely willing to protect the position of the unemployed, and that is why they agreed to extend working hours as part of the competitiveness pact,” she says in a press release.
“We have done our part and shouldered our responsibility. The question now is how the government and employers intend to keep their promise? You cannot talk about a common effort if everyone is not involved – and that seems to be the case now.”
The Finnish Industrial Union has similarly expressed its concerns about the activation model and threatened to organise a strike in protest of the overhaul.
Jari Lindström (BR), the Minister of Employment, has voiced his support for the much-berated model by reminding that there are no longer any easy measures to improve the employment situation.
“I can say with a straight face that the so-called easy measures to improve employment have been used. Whatever measures we decide to use going forward, someone will always be protesting,” he wrote in a blog on Puheenvuoro on Tuesday.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi