Poll suggests nation divided over gov't dismissal plan, union strikes

One of the most contentious issues in the Finnish political arena this autumn has been the centre-right government's proposal that would make it easier for companies with less than 10 employees to fire workers. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä has linked the plan to his push to improve employment figures, saying that that the move would encourage microbusiness owners to hire more people.

The Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle commissioned a public opinion poll to assess the opinion of the country's residents on the issue.

The survey suggests that 46 percent of Finland's residents are against the proposal, with 41 percent in support.

Several unions staged a 24-hour walkout in early October in opposition to the proposal, and a ban on overtime and shift swaps is still underway in some sectors. The labour groups maintain that having a separate set of rules for small companies will create an unequal working environment in Finland.

Public opinion on the union protests is almost as divided as it is on the government proposal. Poll results suggest that 52 percent of Finnish residents approve of the industrial action, while 41 percent oppose it.

Women more opposed to firing bill than men

The Yle-commissioned poll revealed clear differences between women and men on both issues. Only one-third of women support the plan to ease firing, while half of the responding men supported it. When the question was framed another way, 51 percent of women said they were opposed to the government's plan and 41 percent of men said likewise.

When it came to striking unions, women were more supportive than men once again, with 57 of the females responding to the poll saying that they supported unions' right to engage in political strikes, and just one-third of women saying they were against the idea. Among the male poll respondents, 49 percent said that they did not accept labour groups engaging in political walkouts, and 46 percent did.

When examined by political party affiliation, the poll results were as could be expected for both the government plan and the strikes, but differences were also apparent in terms of the labour market position of the respondents.

Only one-third of respondents who identified themselves as wage earners or unemployed supported the government proposal, while 51 percent of pensioners agreed with the Sipilä plan. Three-quarters of entrepreneurs supported easing firing policy in small firms, with only one-fifth of this business owner group saying they opposed.

Business leaders don't accept political strikes

When it comes to politically-motivated union strikes, 70 percent of business managers and 60 percent of entrepreneurs said they did not accept them. Over half of white-collar workers in general also felt this way.

The most support for union industrial action in the poll came from the unemployed (72 percent), wage earners (66 percent) and students (57 percent).

Additional questions on how political strike action from Finland's unions should be curtailed saw respondents' lack of acceptance recede, however. Only one in ten of the poll's respondents would do away with the labour organisations' right to engage in industrial action altogether.

More than one-third of the respondents agreed that the current system is satisfactory, and that labour organisations should be allowed to protest during working hours.

The survey was conducted as an internet panel, and the sample is representative of the adult population of Finland, weighted by age, gender and place of residence. The pollster reached out to 1,377 respondents from 12-15 October, leading to results with a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points in either direction.

yle.fi
gov't dismissal plan strikes
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
The coach of a sports club in Hyvinkää, southern Finland has been remanded into police custody on suspicion of sexual abuse of minors he was coaching, the Itä-Uusimaa police department said on Thursday. Officials said that they are investigating the case as suspected child abuse but did not disclose the ages of the alleged victims. The suspect in the case, a 50-year-old man, was remanded into custody on Wednesday. The suspected sexual abuse is believed to...
Society
Finns increasingly forego do-it-yourself construction of prefab elements in favour of completely completed homes. Turnkey homes (where homes are fully finished and owners can immediately occupy them) have become more popular than traditional house packages, says the Finnish Association for Manufacturers of Prefabricated Houses. “About 7,500 detached homes are built in Finland every year, and about 70 percent of them are prefabricated houses of some kind,”...
Society
THE FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE in the Helsinki neighbourhood of Arabianranta was visibly subdued on Tuesday, as residents mourned the death of a local child who is believed to have been murdered. While little information has been released to the public, it is known that the victim was murdered near their home on the night of Christmas Eve (December 24). The police apprehended a suspect at the scene of the crime, who has been confirmed as a 36-year old male. Whethe...
Society
One of Finland’s most famous seafaring vessels, the titanic icebreaker Otso, was deployed on its first mission of the winter season last night, keeping sea routes open for the 22nd year in a row. Late in the evening of Christmas Day, Otso, the crowning glory of Arctia Oy’s extensive fleet, departed from Helsinki’s Katajanokka Harbour, heading north to the Bay of Bothnia. The 7000-ton Polar icebreaker has been tasked with keeping waterways open between Oulu...
Society
Eight Finnish political parties have published their a statement on future climate policy goals in Finland. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) in November invited all nine parliamentary parties to join a task force established to find an agreement on new, more ambitious climate goals for Finland. The one-month project was led by Kimmo Tiilikainen (Centre), the Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing. The Finns Party abandoned the task force last w...
Society
A 25-year-old man suspected of the sexual abuse of a girl under the age of 15 in Oulu, northwestern Finland, who was arrested in Germany last Tuesday is now reported to be at large. According to law enforcement officials in Oulu, the suspect was released by German police before he could be transferred to Finnish custody due to "a breakdown in communication between authorities". Oulu District Court ordered the suspect to be reprimanded into custody in absen...
Society
Finland’s high earners saw their real income grow more in 2017 than their peers in middle and low income groups, according to new data released by Statistics Finland on Tuesday. Incomes among the country’s highest income decile rose by 4.4 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, while the year-on-year increase was 1.3 percent for middle income earners. Incomes for the four lowest income deciles meanwhile grew by 1.2 percent over the one-year period. However amon...
Society
A man wanted in connection with a suspected arson attempt on a home in Helsinki’s Käpylä district was remanded into police custody on Sunday. The Helsinki district court has remanded a man suspected of attempted arson and attempted murder into police custody, ending a short-lived manhunt, police said on Sunday. The 25 year-old is suspected of using a Molotov cocktail to cause a fire at a flat in Käpylä, Helsinki last Monday. The apartment was completely de...
Society
Helsinki Central Library Oodi will opened its doors to the public on 5 December at 8am, a day before Finland’s 101st birthday. Designed by ALA Architects, this library of a new era is an ode to Finnish culture, equality and freedom of expression. Oodi offers everyone an open, public urban space at Kansalaistori Square, right opposite Parliament House. Central Library Oodi is an active and functional meeting point with 2.5 million expected annual visitors....