Warm-up for a hot Autumn?

The Finnish national broadcaster YLE reports that the Confederation of Finnish Trade Unions and the Metal Workers’ Union will not accept a centralized or framework agreement that does not include wage increases. Today the board of SAK gathers to decide formally whether the federation will aim for a centralized agreement or something else.

 

Today’s meeting is part of a process – the Chairman of SAK, Lauri Lyly, has asked that the board of SAK would first accept the compromise constructed on the conflict of the ‘three training days’. This issue was included in the previous framework agreement, but the implementation was a conflictual issue – were those three training days a subjective right for employees or was the employer to decide when the days would be granted? – such questions. I haven’t found information about the actual compromise – maybe this is a temporary compromise?

 

But in any case, although Lyly has stated that ‘relations are starting to get better’, the call for wage increases in combination with the unwillingness of the employers’ federation (EK) to do this (‘we can’t afford this’), their call for tax reductions and other ‘stimulants for growth’ indicate a potential for a ‘hot Autumn’, especially also in the context of the employers’ communications on the topic of strikes (‘99% of strikes in 2012 was illegal’). The historian and researcher Tapio Bergholm has thoroughly debunked these claims, among other reasons because these strikes are so-called ‘sorrow-strikes’ that fall beyond the scope of the peace clause of the collective agreements. Furthermore, EK claims that improvement of employment can not be accomplished by wage increases. The organization would only allow wage increases in companies that show competitiveness growth. Also EK asks for more flexibility, longer working hours, more local bargaining on diverse issues.

 

Maybe the relations between employers’ and employees’ federations are better now, but there are still a lot of issues that make for a tough negotiation scene.

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