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Unions, tech firms reject strike settlement proposal

A deal before Christmas is now "highly unlikely" as unions hold out for better wages.

Teknologiateollisuuden työmarkkinajohtaja Minna Helle ja Teollisuusliiton puheenjohtaja Riku Aalto
Labour market director Minna Helle and Industrial Union president Riku Aalto. Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

Worker and employers representatives have rejected a proposal by national mediator Vuokko Piekkala aimed at settling an ongoing strike by 100,000 industrial workers that began on December 9.

In a press release on Friday, the Industrial Union stated that is not satisfied the proposal will guarantee its members adequate wage growth throughout the period of the agreement.

"In our view, the offer does not sufficiently take into account productivity developments in the sector, inflation or wage developments in competitor countries," said Riku Aalto, president of the Industrial Union.

In a separate release, employer representative Technology Finland criticised the proposal, saying that it was unacceptable in terms of its structure as well as its cost-effectiveness..

Agreement before Christmas "highly unlikely"

Minna Helle, labour market director at the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries, said she hoped the parties could continue the negotiations, despite the setback.

"The escalation of the situation in the labour market is not in anyone's best interests. The long period of disagreement and the widespread strikes at the beginning of December have already caused great uncertainty and huge financial losses. The faltering economy and employment situation will not withstand new shocks," Helle noted, adding that despite the urgency there is not much chance of a deal being agreed in the coming days.

"It is highly unlikely that an agreement will be reached before Christmas," Helle stated.

This is the second time a proposal has been rejected in this dispute. The first proposal, tabled earlier in December, would have seen wages in the industry rise by about 1.6 percent over two years. The latest proposal increased that figure to 2.4 percent.

Helle emphasised that the stalemate is not uncommon in industrial dispute negotiations.

"In difficult situations, this happens, and it is not uncommon for several proposals for reconciliation to be made before an agreement is reached," she said.

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