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Business lobby proposes minimum wage in Finland

A business lobby is calling for Finland to establish a statutory minimum wage, reports Lännen Media (LM).

Mikrokuituliina porrasrappusella.
Image: Petri Aaltonen / Yle

The Federation of Finnish Enterprises, a business lobby, has suggested that Finland could establish a minimum wage, reports local news conglomerate Lännen Media (LM).

The federation’s CEO, Mikael Pentikäinen, said it was time for Finland to consider whether it should outline sector-specific minimum pay.

Several EU states have minimum wage laws, whereas Finland doesn't have a nationally-appointed minimum wage. Instead, the country has practiced collective bargaining since the 1970s, whereby employers and trade unions regularly negotiate wage agreements on the national and industry-specific level.

Pentikäinen said he recognised that introducing a minimum wage would weaken Finland’s collective bargaining system.

“A set minimum wage would, however, enforce a price floor below which workers could not sell their labour," he explained.

Labour union slams proposal

The white-collar union confederation STTK meanwhile said it didn't see any reason for Finland to introduce a minimum wage. Employment Minister Timo Harakka shared the STTK's views, tweeting that Nordic-style collective bargaining was a functioning system.

Katarina Murto, who heads up the STTK’s collective bargaining unit, said collective agreements cover some 90 percent of workers in Finland. These agreements specify minimum pay rates for various sectors. Any changes to this practice would exert downward pressure on salaries and weaken workers’ positions, according to Murto.

Murto said countries with low collective labour security employ minimum wage laws to safeguard workers.

She told LM that the Federation of Finnish Enterprises' minimum wage proposal was ultimately an attempt to water down the current system.

13:40: Edited to include comments from Employment Minister Timo Harakka.

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