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Rinne: Union confederation contract terminations endanger growth

The Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) announced on Wednesday that it would be terminating 22 of its contracts relating to low-wage job sectors. SDP leader Antti Rinne has come down hard on the organisation for the move.

Antti Rinne Ylen Ykkösaamussa lauantaina.
SDP chair Antti Rinne is not happy with EK. Image: Yle

The Finnish job sector took a potentially far-reaching turn on Wednesday, when the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) announced it would be axing 22 of its union contracts. Social Democratic Party leader Antti Rinne says that were he Prime Minister, he would waste no time bringing all concerned parties together to resolve what he considers a highly risky state of affairs.

The termination of nearly two dozen union contracts concerns the working conditions of low-wage job-holders especially, such as security guards and movie theatre employees.

Rinne says that both the government and EK are jeopardizing Finland's ongoing but meagre economic growth.

"I think it is foolish that the confederation trashed a substantial tool that could have helped in this trying situation," the party chair said on TV on Saturday.

Rinne defends union agreements

Rinne says that, as far as he is concerned, Finland will continue to rely on binding collective bargaining agreements, which guarantee minimum job security.

He says that confederation contracts have made it possible to rein in fluctuating economic development, make broad pension plans and prevent the build-up of a sustainability gap.

"I think that EK bosses should look in the mirror and consider whether this is the right time to be breaking up our long-standing agreement system," Rinne says.

"Dangerous business"

According to Rinne, EK has sought to bypass union policies for years by gunning for in-house collective bargaining within companies.

Rinne says that EK's most recent nixing decision effectively means that the co-operation agreement, protective agreement against dismissal and the agreement on health and safety representatives have been dissolved.

The trade union of affiliates for highly educated workers, Akava, will have its playbook entirely demolished, Rinne says, calling the development "dangerous".

"We're moving towards a scenario where the risk of labour market disturbances will rise significantly."

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