HL's strike guard in front of Attendo Ruusuvuori nursing home in Tampere on May 23, 2023. LEHTIKUVA


Strengthening Finland's economic growth is crucial for the health of public finances. Therefore, the Finnish Entrepreneurs propose numerous actions in their growth program that would allow companies to take more risks and foster growth. The government program should promote local agreements in workplaces, limit political and illegal strikes, and reform unemployment and social security to make work more profitable.

The Finnish Entrepreneurs' Council approved a statement on the growth program during their meeting on Tuesday in Helsinki.

The proportion of growth-oriented companies has been declining for years, and the number of employer entrepreneurs has even plummeted in recent years. The business outlook for companies has deteriorated during the spring.

"The government must take determined action to strengthen business growth and the willingness of entrepreneurs and owners to expand their businesses, invest, and create jobs. There are ways to achieve this if decision-makers have sufficient will and courage," says Petri Salminen, Chairman of the Finnish Entrepreneurs.

In Finland, the consequences of illegal strikes are more significant than in Sweden, for example. Since 2000, Finland has lost over 560,000 working days due to illegal strikes, while in Sweden, the losses have been limited to 3,700 working days (Source: Eva).

Freeing up Workplace Agreements

The Entrepreneurs demand that the government strengthen employment by implementing labor market reforms at the beginning of its term. These reforms would reduce public expenditure but increase revenues. They include, among others, removing bans on local bargaining from legislation, reforming industrial peace regulations, phasing in earnings-related unemployment benefits, and promoting labor immigration.

"Trust, transparency in information flow, and fair treatment are consistently strongest in small businesses. It is contradictory that lawmakers restrict the possibility of agreements precisely where the conditions for bargaining are most favorable. This can now be changed at the Parliament House," says Mari Laaksonen, Chair of the Council.

The Entrepreneurs also expect faster permit processes and increased competition. Healthcare and social services need corrective measures and more multiple providers to ensure that people receive treatment without delays.

"We need to speed up permit processes and zoning with maximum time limits set by legislation. The government must also rein in public in-house companies that have been established in various sectors to circumvent competitive bidding. This often leads to inefficient use of public funds," says Salminen.