In his speech to the Delegate Council Eloranta voiced concern about the future of the Finnish labour market model which is based on negotiations and contracts. He pointed out that the employers' federation EK has tried for many years to undermine the range of contracts between labour market parties, like discontinuing the national labour market pacts, terminating the labour market federations' joint agreements and now a determination to end the pay-related unemployment fund system.
The employers' main organisation EK outlined last week their goals for the labour market. One of the goals was to stipulate that it should be possible for every company to make local agreements outside the collective agreements.
“Now, we have to ask ourselves is what is the actual agenda of the employers”, Eloranta says. “The main issues that are left up for joint cooperation are the collective agreements and the labour pension system. And we certainly have to ask the question if the employers are not already sowing seeds for the future.”
"It is worth bearing in mind that a society based on contracts is not something one can put in a cupboard to wait for the moment when employers need it", Eloranta stressed. “It is not something you can hire for a short time from a labour agency, when needed.”
"Society based on contracts is an open-ended, full-day situation", Eloranta says. "It either exists or does not. If there is a wish to solve major issues, there is no state in-between."
Jarkko Eloranta has been SAK President since 2016 and the new term will last until 2024. Before SAK he was the president of JHL, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors since 2011.
Katja Syvärinen, the new Vice President was also elected unanimously. Her predecessor Matti Huutola will retire. Syvärinen has been a member of Parliament 1999–2003.
Syvärinen has had quite a long experience in local government for the municipality of Vantaa and concentrated on issues of tenant democracy and participation of all citizens. To SAK she moves from the communications agency Kaskas Media where she has been working as a Senior Advisor.
In her speech to the Delegate Council Syvärinen promises that she will be an active participant in the social debate. "I will do my part to see that SAK is an innovative and active social actor, from which one can also expect new ideas", she says.
One of the cornerstones of SAK strategy is participation, Syvärinen says. "The trade union movement must produce value, joy, pride, participation and togetherness for its members."
SAK is a confederation of 17 trade unions in industry, the public sector, transport, private services and culture. At the beginning of 2020 these unions had a total of 880,574 members. SAK was established in Tampere in the year 1907.
According to the reports presented for the Delegate Council meeting, the SAK office employed 68 people last year and the actual operation costs were 11.1 million euro in total.
Heikki Jokinen / Freelancer