Construction workers at a construction site in Helsinki on 16 February, 2018.
Construction workers at a construction site in Helsinki on 16 February, 2018.


The Federation of Finnish Enterprises has provoked the ire of trade unions by forwarding a list of proposals for the upcoming framework session of the government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre).

The federation believes, for example, the government should take action to make it easier for micro businesses to lay off employees on personal grounds.

“Nothing is enough for these people,” Antti Palola, the chairperson of the Finnish Confederation of Salaried Employees (STTK), stated on Twitter on Friday. “Let’s browbeat employees, eradicate employment protection and move from bargaining to dictating – that’d be one heck of a reform.”

“This is how you build trust at the workplace,” added Jarkko Eloranta, the chairperson of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK).

Mikael Pentikäinen, the chief executive of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, underlined in his response to the trade union bosses that the proposed reforms will have to be implemented sooner rather than later also in Finland.

“We’ll have to do the same reforms as other countries sooner rather than later,” he stated.

Eloranta pointed out in the ensuing discussion that laying off staff is currently possible on financial and production-related grounds whenever there is a change in the circumstances of the company. Pentikäinen, however, argued that laying off staff on financial and production-related grounds is hardly ever an option for small enterprises.

“So business owners must first make sure their company’s finances are scarce enough for them to be able to carry out changes on financial or production-related grounds when there are no alternatives? Many business owners will do whatever they can to avoid a situation where the grounds are met,” he stated.

“We’re proposing that making lay-offs on personal grounds be made easier for micro businesses with fewer than ten employees,” added Pentikäinen.

Eloranta responded by warning that such a proposal could create a two-tier labour market where the employees of small enterprises would take on the risks of the employer.

“Trade unions unfortunately are faced with situations where employers behave in arbitrarily towards their employees. And that risk would only increase if employers had even more power than today. That’s why we need regulations that balance the landscape,” he said.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi