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Time for cooperation, not for dictating

The last two years have been a continuous struggle for wage and salary earners against the attacks by the Government, says JHL President Päivi Niemi-Laine when speaking on May Day in the city of Oulu.

The Government has been threatening Sunday and overtime allowances, the right to sign collective agreements and unemployment benefits.

‘The list is woefully long. The Government has even been making cuts to early childhood education and to education from vocational schools to universities’, Niemi-Laine says.

‘Under this Government employees have repeatedly been given the message that a just salary and fair conditions of work is something not for them, but for the managers earning the millions they do.’

The sectors where the workforce is primarily made up of women are discriminated against in particular, Niemi-Laine stresses.

She reminds us of the latest national wage pact where in the public sector most employees got longer working hours without a pay rise and how holiday bonuses were cut by 30 per cent.

Now it is the time for women, Niemi-Laine demands. ‘In the next round of collective agreements this autumn there must be an agreement to raise salaries and create a programme to bridge the pay gap for the sectors dominated by women.’

The trade union movement has been inviting the Government and the employers’ association EK to joint table talks to examine what kind of economic and social policy we should advance together, Niemi-Laine says.

The union level collective agreement negotiations this autumn may be difficult, but trilateral cooperation could help to avoid strikes and set joint goals on how to develop a more equal and productive Finland.

‘We now need agreement and joint development, not dictating and giving orders.’

Heikki Jokinen