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Tue, 08 Mar, 2016 02:09:48 AM
SAK approves preliminary outcome
FTimes- STT Report, Mar 8
Jyri Häkämies, the president and CEO of EK spoke on competitiveness deal in Helsinki on Monday. Photo Lehtikuva.
The Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) is expecting involvement of all the unions under the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) in the competitive agreement.
The SAK Executive Board on Monday approved the preliminary outcome of the social contract negotiations.
The fact that 40 per cent of the SAK members would not be covered by the agreement is, however, problematic from EK’s perspective.
According to Jyri Häkämies, the president and CEO of EK, a situation in which almost half of the unions are not involved does not pave way for progress.
“In this situation today, it is not possible to establish that an agreement will be reached and signed,” Häkämies said, adding that representation of SAK unions is particularly lacking.
“Everyone must be involved in this,” Häkämies stressed.
Häkämies said he did not wish to dictate any timetable.
Earlier, at a meeting of the SAK Executive Board on Monday, the contentious decision to forward the pact for negotiation by sectoral trade unions and employers’ federations was supported by a 14-5 majority of votes cast with one abstention, said a SAK press release.
SAK President Lauri Lyly at a meeting on competitiveness deal in Helsinki on Monday. Photo Lehtikuva.
The SAK decision requires the Finnish government to comply with the competitiveness package by cancelling 1.5 billion euros in expenditure cuts and tax hikes, and reducing income taxes.
“We now expect businesses to shoulder the responsibility of investing, with support from the government to get things moving. Finland needs employment and public investment that encourages investment in the private sector as well. The business community and the government are responsible for making this happen,” SAK President Lauri Lyly said in a statement.
Finance Minister Alexander Stubb meanwhile said the ball was in the court of the labour marker organisations.
Stubb said the task of the labour market groups is to ensure how comprehensive the negotiations ought to be in terms of the representation of unions.
“It is their task to ensure that negotiations kick off as comprehensively as possible. They [labour market organisations] will decide the extent of coverage,” said Stubb upon his arrival in Brussels for the meeting of the EU finance ministers.
The national labour and employer confederations reached a negotiated settlement on a general labour market agreement or Competitiveness Pact on February 29. 
The new pact was already approved a week ago by Finland’s other national confederations, gaining support from the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland (Akava) and the Finnish Confederation of Professionals (STTK) representing employees, and from the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) and the Commission for Local Authority Employers (KT) on the employers’ side.
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