According to Minister of Employment Arto Satonen (NCP), the government will push ahead with its plans to reform the labour market despite the looming economic recession. The labour minister said that the government is making structural reforms that will create the conditions for future growth in employment.
According to the latest statistics, the number of open jobs has decreased and the number of unemployed job seekers is increasing. Some economists have warned that this is not the right time to launch fundamental labour market reforms.
Satonen said that the recession is expected to be short, though, and the government's reforms will mainly come into force after the economy has returned to growth.
Satonen, a millionaire real estate investor, spoke on the Yle current affairs programme Ykkösaamu on Saturday – as labour unions announced more job actions to protest what they say are government efforts to roll back workers' rights.
More walkouts next week
The Industrial Union said on Saturday that it will continue a rolling series of one-hour walkouts on Wednesday, 4 October, at 23 workplaces in Central Finland and Vaasa.
The Trade Union Pro also announced one-hour walkouts at 23 companies, mostly on the west coast and central Finland, at the same time.
There will also be more industrial actions by service sector workers next Wednesday and Thursday in Lahti, Uusimaa, Jyväskylä and Vaasa, according to the Service Union United PAM.
The unions say the demonstrations are aimed at influencing government decisions related to the weakening of working conditions, social security and freedom of contract.
On Friday, the Industrial Union and Trade Union Pro announced one-hour protests at certain workplaces in southeast Finland and South Savo next Tuesday.
The actions are part of a campaign by the central blue-collar trade union organisation SAK, with industrial actions planned over a three-week period. Pro is part of another central organisation, the Finnish Confederation of Professionals (STTK).