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TEK: Government Platform provides solid basis for education and RDI, but labour market issues are precarious

News article

The new Government Programme recognizes the importance of education, competence, and research, development and innovation activities. However, the Programme does not appear to be in balance when it comes to labour market issues, putting not only employees but also local cooperation in a precarious position.

The Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK commends the Government Programme for recognizing the importance of high-level competence and education and for not making cuts in education. The future success of Finland also relies on the upcoming Government to undertake to increase the share of RDI investments to four percent of the gross domestic product, as agreed in a parliamentary process.

“But money is not enough on its own, because RDI activities require highly educated professionals. In addition to tapping the Finnish pool of talent, this also means increasing work-based immigration. The measures to tighten immigration in the Government Programme do not make sense from this perspective,” says Jari Jokinen, CEO of the Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK.

“I also think that the Government's investment programme is important, as it aims to create conditions for sustainable growth for all of Finland in the decades ahead.”

The Government Programme aims to implement a proactive approach and promises to make extensive use of the expertise of the scientific community. 

“It’s good to see that the Programme has, in part, turned its gaze further into the future and promises to build a vision of a common, thriving Finland. This vision represents the kind of country we want to build for future generations,” says Jokinen.

The Government Programme recognises the importance of high-level competence and education.

The Government Platform also includes a fairly extensive package of reforms in working life, which will essentially put employees and local cooperation in a precarious position. The position of employees would be weakened for example by shortening the period of notice for lay-offs, removing the obligation to provide a reason for fixed-term employment, making the first sick day unpaid, removing the re-employment obligation from companies with fewer than 50 employees and significantly increasing the scope of application of the Co-operation Act.

TEK's Labour Market Director Teemu Hankamäki notes that, at first glance, it appears that the Government Programme is not in balance when it comes to labour market issues.

“Especially the measures to weaken cooperation at workplaces are downright inconsistent with the extension of local bargaining, which can also be found in the Government Programme. In addition, I could not help but notice the intention to push through mandatory provisions so that not even a collective agreement could be used to negotiate conditions that are more advantageous for the employee. This limits the freedom of contract of unions,” Hankamäki points out.

At first glance, it appears that the Government Programme is not in balance when it comes to labour market issues.
- Teemu Hankamäki

Local bargaining would be increased by allowing non-unionized workplaces to negotiate different terms of employment. Local bargaining would be permitted regardless of whether or not the company is a member of an employers’ association and regardless of the type of representation system the employees have in the company.

“Extending local bargaining can, as such, be considered a desirable goal, but I fear that in practice this extension will be implemented at the expense of the employees’ bargaining position. I do, however, consider it a positive thing that the role and capacity of the Labour Court in resolving any disputes has been emphasized,” says Hankamäki.