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Small businesses call for cuts to employment security

Finland’s association of small businesses sees current employment security legislation as a serious impediment to employment, and holds it should be easier to hire and fire workers.

Many small-scale entrepreneurs would like to hire more help. Image: YLE/ Kari Mustonen

Employment security of small business employees should be dismantled, according to Harri Jyrkiäinen, chair of Finland’s association of small businesses, Suomen Pienyrittäjät.

Jyrkiäinen proposes a model similar to that being planned in Britain, where a small-scale entrepreneur could employ and let go of workers in a more flexible manner as compared with present practices.

Jyrkiäinen complains that those preparing employment legislation do not consult entrepreneurs, who have been forced to go along with whatever workers’ unions have demanded. “Now entrepreneurs are fed up with this. Things must change,” Jyrkiäinen says.  

According to the association chair, businesses are afraid to employ young people in danger of being marginalised, for example, because of sanctions in current employment legislation.

Rebuttals by SDP, SAK and STTK

SDP vice chair Eero Vainio was quick to reject the proposal to cut job-security, saying such a move would lead to a climate of fear and suspicion among small business employees, resulting in lower productivity and employee exhaustion.

Lauri Lyly, chair of the main blue-collar federation, the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) was also critical of the proposal. He said there was no scope for weakening employment security. On the contrary, Lyly saw the need for even stronger employment security, especially in circumstances of great change.

Mikko Mäenpää, chair of the Finnish Confederation of Professionals (STTK) saw the small businesses’ stance as ignoring today’s realities.

“We have had a record number of redundancies this year, causing much insecurity. In fact employment security is not so great in Finland as compared with many other European countries, where it is more difficult to fire people.”

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