Juha Majanen, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance, reacted at a news conference about rail infrastructure projects in Helsinki in January 2023. Majanen on Sunday confirmed to STT that ministries and government agencies may have to make thousands of people redundant to meet the government-imposed savings targets. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

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AS MANY AS thousands of officials may be laid off due to the cost savings pursued by the government of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP), reports STT.

Juha Majanen, the permanent state secretary at the Ministry of Finance, estimated yesterday in an interview with the news agency that ministries and government agencies may have to resort to lay-offs due to the 200-million-euro saving target imposed on public administration for 2025.

“For example, about 13,000 people are working in the administrative sector of the Ministry of Finance. I’m sure about 90 per cent of all costs are staff costs,” he commented.

STT on Friday reported, citing sources within the government, that thousands of officials could be laid off next year due to the 250-million-euro savings target set forth in the government programme and the 150-million-euro savings target agreed on in the newly concluded framework session. Majanen on Sunday said roughly half of the savings will have to be implemented as soon as next year.

The Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of the Interior are not required to make as drastic spending cuts as other administrative sectors: while they are required to cut costs by 0.81 per cent, the target for other administrative sectors is 3.58 per cent. The Ministry of Finance and the agencies set up under it will have to generate savings of 77 million euros in 2025, revealed Majanen.

“If you applied the percentage to the administrative sector as such, you’d be talking about hundreds of person-years that’d be reduced next year,” he noted. “That’s the kind of figure that we may need consultative procedures that lead to staff cuts.”

He added that it is premature to tell how the lay-offs and other cost-saving measures will be distributed between various agencies, for example. It is likely, though, that the lay-offs will be a case of many a little makes a mickle.

“For example, ELY Centres and Regional State Administrative Agencies have about 4,600 person-years. If you mechanically reduced a bit over three per cent from that, you’d be talking about a few hundred person-years.”

Jouni Vainio, the chief shop steward at the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), on Saturday told Helsingin Sanomat that the effort to bring down costs could force the institute to save on research.

“It seems like either there’ll be problems because we have to give up on research funding or we have to go through consultative negotiations to save wage money so that we can spend it on research,” he said.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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