Jyri Häkämies, the director general at the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK), says all businesses should have an equal opportunity to utilise local bargaining. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)


EMPLOYER ORGANISATIONS in Finland have demanded that local bargaining be increased to promote employment and the competitiveness of businesses.

The Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) and the Federation of Finnish Enterprises on Thursday voiced their support for a system of local bargaining that removes all limitations on non-unionised businesses and guarantees all businesses an equal opportunity to utilise local bargaining.

Businesses, they added, should be able to bargain locally with shop stewards, other employee representatives and the entire staff.

“We are talking about employment and competitiveness. The coronavirus has called more attention to the need to find flexible local solutions so that businesses can succeed and safeguard jobs,” argued Jyri Häkämies, the director general at EK.

“Removing the limitations on bargaining is promoting local bargaining in accordance with the government programme. We expect the government to move forward on the issue,” he added.

Mikael Pentikäinen, the managing director at the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, reminded that the issue is also linked to equality.

“Every business and employee must have the right to agree on issues locally. The needs of a company and workplace are known best at the workplace – nowhere else,” he said. “It is the duty of a company’s staff to consider what model of bargaining suits them the best. The starting point must not be that union members are in a better position than others.”

The press release is a response to reports that the tripartite task force appointed to find ways to promote local bargaining for the government’s budget session next week is at an impasse.

Pentikäinen told Talouselämä earlier this week that he is not confident in the task force’s ability to arrive at a unanimous proposal.

The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff (Akava) and Finnish Confederation of Professionals (STTK) have expressed their bafflement with the approach taken by EK.

“Employer organisations, trade unions and contracting organisations together agreed on questions, procedures and parties related to local bargaining in collective bargaining agreements. Now EK is questioning the entire bargaining system, trust and the commitment of employer organisations to collective bargaining agreements they themselves have agreed on,” they stated.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi