The request for comments stated that, according to the Programme of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo’s Government, the Government will strengthen the export-driven labour market model in order to boost Finland’s long-term competitiveness. Provisions would be laid down in the Act on Mediation in Labour Disputes so that the general level of pay adjustments cannot be exceeded by a settlement proposal issued by the National Conciliator's Office or a conciliation board.
TEK expresses strong opposition to this policy in its comment: “Tying the hands of the National Conciliator to a specific level of pay adjustments would destroy the purpose of the institution and make the role of the National Conciliator redundant. In addition, this is likely to disturb the industrial peace.”
In its comment, TEK points out that Finland is obliged to comply with the EU law and international human rights agreements.
“Article 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union guarantees the right of workers and their respective organisations to collectively negotiate and agree on terms of employment under collective agreements. The National Conciliator is a government official and conciliation is an official function that affects exercising the right to negotiate collective agreements and the negotiations themselves. Conciliation cannot be bound to such pre-defined levels concerning the final outcome of the agreement that negate the freedom of the parties to a dispute to negotiate and define their terms themselves,” says TEK in its comment.
TEK also points out that the best results have been achieved in the Finnish labour market when its parties have developed the terms of employment and salaries in the industry within the framework of mutual trust and commonly agreed rules. The primary need for development in the Finnish labour market system is considering the industry-specific approach. The terms of employment and pay should therefore be based primarily on the conditions and development of the respective industry. That is why the negotiations on the new labour market model should be carried out by the unions and negotiation organisations that conclude agreements.
Read the full comment here (in Finnish): Comment by the Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK