11.3.2024 22:35
Press release

Suomen Yrittäjät: Strikes completely irresponsible amid recession and war

Suomen Yrittäjät, the Finnish SME association, condemns the disproportionate new political strikes announced by trade union SAK. “It’s completely irresponsible for the union to hold political strikes in a situation where Finland is entering recession and taking on government debt at a rate of knots, while a brutal war rages in Europe. These strikes will deepen Finland’s economic woes and make Finland an even less attractive investment for companies,” Mikael Pentikäinen, CEO of the association, says.

“The strikes will hit Finnish employees and their wallets the hardest, as they threaten their incomes and jobs. The unions are shooting themselves in the foot and the strikes will destroy jobs,” Pentikäinen adds.

Suomen Yrittäjät reminds the trade union leaders that the Government, supported by a majority in Parliament, cannot yield to pressure from outside Parliament. In a recent interpellation on the labour market situation, the Government comfortably received the confidence of Parliament.

“Strikes amount to harassment of the Finnish people and contempt for parliamentary democracy,” he says.

Suomen Yrittäjät finds it regrettable that the trade unions have justified the strikes with erroneous claims and even lies.

“This, too, is irresponsible. The truth will be out,” Pentikäinen says.

“Instead of striking, the organized labour movement ought to be making a difference, like everyone else is. Labour market reforms are prepared in tripartite working groups where there are good opportunities to make an impact on proposals. In addition, the Government has offered bipartite preparation of the pension reform and the salary model.”

Striking not compulsory

Suomen Yrittäjät believes that constant political strikes make the case for reforming industrial peace legislation clear.

“The actions of the SAK union show that the legislation needs to be reformed more boldly than how the Government is proposing, either by completely prohibiting political strikes or limiting them to a few hours,” Suomen Yrittäjät Vice President Janne Makkula says.

“The reforms being introduced by the Government are indisputably moderate in international terms. For example, political strikes are completely prohibited in Germany. In Denmark, the law does not provide general protection of employees against dismissal, and in Germany, no grounds are needed for dismissals in companies smaller than ten people.”

Suomen Yrittäjät points out that nobody is obliged to participate in a strike.

“Everyone is free to work in peace, regardless of strikes. In Finland, there is the right to strike, not the obligation to strike,” Makkula says.

Question of equality

The SAK union has demanded the Government continue to favour unionized companies and employees in local bargaining.

“SAK wants the minority to decide for the majority in the workplace. No way. Every company and employee should be equal before the law and contracts, regardless of whether they are unionized,” Janne Makkula of Suomen Yrittäjät says.

Suomen Yrittäjät thinks that the Government’s plan to promote local bargaining by removing barriers to bargaining and enabling local bargaining in all companies and for all employees are steps in the right direction. Even so, the association considers them insufficient, because the right to other forms of bargaining remains unimplemented.

“Workplaces know companies’ and employees’ needs best, not some officials in Helsinki. Increasing local bargaining is essential for strengthening productivity and growth. Workplaces also strongly support it,” Makkula says.

Further information:
President and CEO Mikael Pentikäinen, Suomen Yrittäjät, tel. +358 40 504 1944
Vice President Janne Makkula, Suomen Yrittäjät, tel. +358 40 581 2472

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