SAK President Jarkko Eloranta: Government must break deadlock on labour market issues

Trade unions affiliated to the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) today announced a conditional programme of political industrial action. These measures will take place on Thursday 14 December unless the Government clears a path for genuine collective bargaining by employee organisations.
07.12.2023 13:46
Trade union presidents together with SAK President Jarkko Eloranta announcing political industrial action.

SAK opposes needless attacks on employee working conditions by the Orpo-Purra Government, and its plans for cuts in social welfare that are unfair and inappropriate under current economic conditions. The trade unions feel that policy proposals of the new Government Programme affecting terms and conditions of employment are unbalanced and disregard the needs of employees.

Representatives of employees and employers have discussed the creation of a new labour market model in Finland, with both sides finding the capacity and resolve to achieve a settlement.

SAK President Jarkko Eloranta stresses that negotiations cannot be confined to remuneration schemes alone.

"We must also be able to discuss and agree on other issues that are integral parts of the package. If the Government expects the social partners to advance from general conversation to concrete collective bargaining on a labour market model, then it will also be necessary to negotiate and find a settlement on local collective bargaining and industrial peace that accommodates the needs of employees."

SAK insists that no consensus on the labour market model can emerge without broadening the terms of reference of the negotiations and suspending preparations to cut unemployment benefit. The general discussion cannot lead to specific negotiations on a labour market model when the social partners reconvene on Wednesday 13 December unless the Government indicates that the views of employees will be taken seriously.

"SAK is prepared to launch immediate serious negotiations on a comprehensive labour market settlement just as soon as the Government announces its readiness to broaden the overall scope of collective bargaining," Jarkko Eloranta explains.

If the Government fails to clear a path for genuine collective bargaining, then the SAK-affiliated trade unions will take major political industrial action across the whole of Finland and in various industries on Thursday 14 December. The unions will provide further details of their planned industrial action in the coming days, each observing the notification periods set out in its own collective agreements.

The Government has until the afternoon of 13 December to respond, after which industrial action measures will be implemented irrespective of any further progress made in discussions with the employers.