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JHL to begin negotiations on the competitiveness pact

 JHL will open negotiations on how to implement the national labour market pact, or the so called competitiveness pact, in their own collective agreements. JHL has about 60 collective agreements.

The background to the negotiations is the national market labour pact signed at the end of February. And the purpose of the pact is to boost the competitiveness of the Finnish economy by cutting labour costs.

The pact seeks to lengthen the annual working time by 24 hours for all workers without extra pay. Holiday pay for those working in the public sector will be reduced by 30 per cent for the next three years.

Extending working hours will be the most difficult issue in all this, says JHL Chairperson Jarkko Eloranta.

”We shall find a solution that is least harmful for JHL members. JHL collective agreements include very different kinds of work and working hours are not uniform. Finding ways to implement the national pact is already proving to be technically challenging. Reaching an acceptable and fair resolution to this problem will be difficult”, he says.

There is time to negotiate until the end of May. Then the Government will evaluate all the changes in some 300 national collective agreements and decide whether or not it will cancel the planned tough austerity measures.

JHL will make the final decision on the competitiveness pact once all collective bargaining is over. JHL’s council will make the decision at the end of May.

”In order for union level collective bargaining to succeed the Government must abide by what has been agreed to in the pact”, Eloranta says.

In effect this means that the Government must not make any additional cuts to the public sector or seek to lay off any more employees.

Heikki Jokinen

Read more:
A broad labour market pact is born – and it will be heavy for employees  (Trade Union News from Finland 29.2.2016)
The competitiviness pact in brief  (SAK 7.3.2016)