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Home NATIONALWide societal agreement in Finland suggested
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Fri, 12 Dec, 2014 01:05:02 AM
FTimes-Xinhua Report, Dec 12

Salaries and taxation are increasingly moving into the centre of political debate in Finland after the general election platforms had been published by the wage earner and employer organizations this week.

     In its programme published on Thursday, the powerful Central Organization of Trade Unions (SAK) demanded that paying less in salary than the union rates should be made a criminal offense in Finland.

     The demand was in sharp contrast to employer suggestions that a general decrease in salaries would be essential for the competitive edge of the country.

     The union organization suggested a wide societal agreement that would combine moderate pay agreements with governmental measures to support growth and increase the purchasing power of the citizens.

    

Earlier this week, the Confederation of Industries (EK) representing the employers had demanded major income tax concessions as well as cutbacks in the public services without essential impairments in the welfare society concept.

     The employers suggested a partial regression to the level enjoyed in the 1990s and demanded that two thirds of the public services added during the past decade should be cancelled.

     Discussing the options available to Finland on national radio on Thursday, the leading economists of the two sides found common ground on the need to ease taxation, but views on implementing it were far apart.

     "Finns rather want to pay taxes than see the social safety net go," said Olli Koski, the economist for the SAK.

     Representing the EK, economist Jussi Mustonen favoured giving the same decrease in tax percentage to all income classes, while the wage earner side wanted the cutbacks applied to lower income households.

     SAK economist Koski welcomed the fact that the employers were no longer demanding that inheritance should be tax free in Finland.

     Analysts in the local media noted that the results of recent polls of party popularity have enhanced the chances of the wage earner backed solutions as a centre-left government seems to be possible next year.

     The leading newspaper in Finland Helsingin Sanomat noted in its editorial on Wednesday that the action plan of the employers had clearly been compiled before the latest opinion polls showed a decline in the support of the conservatives.

     Helsingin Sanomat noted that the left wing parties want to maintain societal income transfers and public services at the present level at least. "That means a high ratio of taxation. The non-socialist are keener on easing taxation, and that would demand cutbacks in spending." 

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