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Finnish government rifling bargaining rights

Aalto Riku 300

Riku Aalto, President of the Finnish Metalworkers’ Union

The Finnish government has announced its intentions to introduce compulsory statutes into the legislation aiming to restrict the labour market partners’ right to bargain and agree on terms of work.

The restrictions to bargaining and agreement rights in question would prevent the labour market organisations from agreeing on terms of work which are more favourable than the statutory ones guaranteed by legislation. So far, the generally acknowledged practice in the labour legislation has honoured the basic idea to protect the weaker party in the working life, the worker.

In practice, the government wants to introduce compulsory statutes under the level of the present legislation concerning overtime compensation, annual holidays, sick pay or compensation on Sunday work. The basic intention is that the new, clearly substandard legislation could not be surpassed by collective bargaining. This is clearly in the interest of the employers, and their organisations have already strongly applauded the government proposition.

A basic principle of the collective bargaining system is the mechanism to agree on terms of work more favourably to the worker than the level the existing legislation provides. The International Labor Organisation ILO has in its own supervision stated that interference with the favourability rule is an act against the ILO Convention 98. The Finnish Metalworkers’ Union regards the government proposition to be just that. The Finnish government is with these actions giving a very peculiar image of itself and its principles.

The Finnish trade union movement will not accept this severe deterioration of the basic working life rights and it calls for a general trade union mass demonstration on 18.9.2015, starting at 11:00 am and demands the government to withdraw the intended legislation.

Riku Aalto, President of the Finnish Metalworkers’ Union

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