Central organization of wage earners The industrial action planned by SAK for Thursday next week is still avoidable, says SAK chairman Jarkko Eloranta.
SAK’s member unions said on Thursday that on December 14, they will carry out extensive, 24-hour political industrial action if the government does not open the way to genuine negotiations for the trade unions.
“The strike is avoidable. We have stated that they are conditional. It now requires a signal from the government that our views can be taken into account in the concerns we have about the labor peace legislation, the reform of local bargaining and also unemployment security,” Eloranta said in an interview with Ylen Ykkösaamu on Saturday.
“Does one joint negotiation table need to be created by Wednesday of next week? Not for sure, but a clear signal that the views of the wage earners are also being taken into account here,” continued Eloranta.
Social partners are currently discussing the Finnish labor market model. The government’s goal has been to have an export-driven model for Finland, in which export industries would determine the general line of wage increases.
“In order for the discussions to turn into a genuine negotiation, we also need to get clarity on what is happening in closely related matters, such as labor peace and local agreements,” Eloranta said at Yle.
“On Wednesday of next week, we intend to continue these labor market model discussions. Unless there is a positive signal from the government, these discussions will be interrupted and then we will implement measures on Thursday”, he continued.
Also STTK’s Ammattiliitto Pro of white-collar workers and Akava’s Engineers’ Union of university graduates said on Thursday that they will announce a day-long work stoppage on December 14 as a protest against the government’s reductions in working life.
Eloranta according to Finland, we can no longer talk about the tripartite model of the labor market, where the government, employers and wage earners each formed one separate entity.
According to Eloranta, the government and employers are currently on the same front and are trying to weaken the position of wage earners on all fronts.
“Even the government’s program is actually written purely in business organizations, when you look at work life registrations or social security registrations. In that sense, you can’t really talk about a triple base, but I guess this is a double base,” said Eloranta.
Eloranta was asked in Ykkösaamu whether the tightened labor market situation could lead to a general strike if the government and employers do not take into account the views of the wage earners. According to Eloranta, there is a “romantic image” of the 1956 general strike in Finland.
“You probably won’t see anything like that in Finland. The time is different and the economic structure is different, but it may be that broader measures will be seen in a different way, if even this is not enough,” said Eloranta.
“Yes, of course we are preparing for different scenarios and future pictures and we are thinking about how to move forward from this. But, of course, the first and primary goal is to be able to open this labor market knot, ease this tension and find a way forward for negotiations,” continued Eloranta.
Correction December 9 at 12:48 p.m.: The article previously incorrectly stated that next Thursday’s industrial action would threaten to stop electricity production and train traffic completely.