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JHL considers measures to resist Government plan to ease individual dismissals (en translation)

(3.9.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) JHL, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors is considering measures should the Finnish Government go ahead with preparations for new legislation to make individual dismissals easier.

In practise this could mean taking industrial action such as a ban on overtime or limited and targeted strikes.

The Union has not specified what types of action would be taken, but mentions that these will be extended gradually. The details and schedule will be announced later, said the Union Executive Committee in its unanimous decision.

The Finnish Government has prepared an amendment to the Employment Contracts Act aimed at easing the criteria for individual dismissal in businesses employing 20 people or less. Trade unions are united in vehemently opposing the proposal.

To change the rules for an individual dismissal in companies with less than 20 employees is pointless, JHL says. According to experts the current law concerning individual dismissal  is not especially strict in Finland by international standards.

– There has been no research either suggesting that the proposal would have a positive effect on employment, says JHL President Päivi Niemi-Laine.

– The effect could in fact be negative. The legislation would set an artificial limit after which employers do not think it is worth employing new people as the protection against dismissal is improving, she adds.

JHL published in August a detailed statement about the proposed new legislation. The Union said that the proposed new rules would affect a major number of people. 97 per cent of Finnish companies employing people have less than 20 employees. In total 36 per cent of employees are working in companies with less than  20 employees.

The Union also stressed that the amendment would have an unfair effect on unemployment benefits. Those dismissed due to the new law would have a 90 days waiting period for their unemployment benefits. This would punish those working in smaller companies in particular.

– Can the Government ignore the experts once again? And make the situation of workers worse on the basis of nonexistent impact assessments? Where is the responsibility of the decision makers, Niemi-Laine asks.