Prime Minister Antti Rinne (left) and Minister of Education Li Andersson (right) found themselves in apparent disagreement over what it means to be unemployed last week. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)


UNEMPLOYMENT is anything but chilling out, states Li Andersson (Left Alliance), the Minister of Education.

Her statement is directed particularly at Prime Minister Antti Rinne (SDP). Rinne on Wednesday warned in an employment seminar that working-age people who “chill” are endangering the future of the welfare state.

“We can’t afford a world where people chill out,” he noted in his closing remarks. “If you’re able to work or partially disabled, you have to go to work.”

Andersson on Friday reminded that unemployment has been shown to cause anxiety and ill-being in people.

“Being unemployed is anything but ‘chilling out’. Financial concerns and an uncertain outlook for the future cause anxiety and ill-being in many. There are also plenty of people in the working life suffering from stress and burnouts who need a chance to chill,” she commented on Twitter.

Mikkel Näkkäläjärvi, the chairperson of the Finnish Social Democratic Youth, also offered his thoughts on the issue, estimating that it is difficult to claim that avoiding work is among the main problems in Finland.

“It’s difficult to see how this so-called chilling and avoiding work are the real problem. I’d say it’s rather a question of there not being enough jobs and services from the viewpoint of job seekers. It’d also help if the skill and education levels increased,” analysed Näkkäläjärvi.

The Finnish government has adopted the objective of raising the employment rate to 75 per cent by the end of its term in office in 2023 – a feat that according to the latest forecasts would require an increase of 60,000 in the ranks of the employed. Many economists have interpreted the latest economic and employment growth statistics as evidence that the objective is slipping further from the government’s reach.

Mika Lintilä (Centre), the Minister of Finance, on Wednesday admitted in the seminar that economic growth alone will not spawn the jobs needed to meet the employment target.

“We’re not talking about the government’s own contraption but about a necessity. We have to make sure as many as possible are participating in working life and, thereby, funding our common well-being,” he underlined.

He also stressed that public spending must not increase substantially as a consequence of the employment measures, as the government has also committed to balancing its finances by 2023.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi