Finnish unions agree Competitiveness Pact
After more than a year of difficult and hard-fought negotiations, Finnish unions reached sufficient approval for the “Competitiveness Pact” to take effect. The Competitiveness Pact will mean an increase of annual employee working time by 24 hours.
The Finnish government has already announced its plans to abandon a 1.5 billion Euro programme of additional expenditure cuts and tax increases if the Competitiveness Pact is agreed upon. The government will also shelve plans to weaken legislation protecting terms and conditions of employment, and will reduce employee income taxes.
There will be no wage increases next year, liability for some employer contributions will be transferred to the employee, and the holiday bonuses of public sector employees will be temporarily reduced.
Ann Selin, the President of UNI Global Union and chair of the largest Finnish union PAM, said, “This has been a bruising and protracted process. Hopefully, this pact will kick start an economic recovery and reverse the steady rise in unemployment.”
“We are relieved, but not triumphant. PAM has managed to negotiate some improvements on collective agreements, but the negotiation of the competitiveness pact has been a trying time for the Finnish labour movement.”
“It has been a long fight for the Finnish trade unions against a government intent on eroding trade union rights,” said General Secretary of UNI Global Union Philip Jennings.
“The competitiveness pact represents a compromise for both sides, but we are happy that the labour movement was able to reach an agreement, because the alternative would have been far worse for workers in Finland.”