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Proposal for new Working Hours Act would make life more insecure for young families

JHL President Päivi Niemi-Laine says that the Government should abandon its unilateral decision to reform the Working Hours Act. The proposal was presented before the trilateral working group, and all labour market organisations agreed that the proposal was not feasible.

– All labour market parties have voiced their dissent towards the proposal, Niemi-Laine says. Both trade union confederations and the employers’ federation expressed their doubts in respect of the proposal.

Nonetheless, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment decided to forge ahead with the drafting of a proposal, even though it is formed on a basis that has been widely criticised.

The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL do not accept that employees should be the ones who should have to pay the price of the planned flexibility in working hours.

JHL is especially worried about the plans to allow longer working hours during period and nighttime work. Irregular work and especially working in shifts would exhaust employees even more than it does already.

A major worry for JHL President Päivi Niemi-Laine is that there is no sensible proposal on how to implement the control of working hours in a reasonable way.

– It is possible to extend local company level bargaining if the control of working hours is increased and employees organisations are allowed the right to class action suits. But, these are not included in the Ministry proposal.

Another major disappointment is that the Ministry proposal for flexible working hours ignores those with temporary jobs, Niemi-Laine says.

– The proposal of the Ministry does nothing to diminish the insecurity that many young people already feel in working life. One glaring example is that it will be even more difficult to start and raise a family while income insecurity remains such a paramount concern.

The proposal of Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment for the new Working Hours Act has now been presented and the Government will put a draft bill before Parliament later this year.

Heikki Jokinen