SAK: All union members preparing action against government's plan to make it easier to fire people

Umbrella union confederation declares action against plan to ease payroll cuts.

SAK, the almost million-member-strong union confederation, is preparing counter action against a proposed measure that will make it easier for small companies with 20 or fewer employees to fire them.

Jarkko Eloranta, SAK president, says that every SAK member association is preparing its own retaliatory measures and will announce them and their timing soon.

"The government’s proposed bill puts workers in an unequal position according to employer size and this is unacceptable. Preparation of this law should be stopped and [it should be] withdrawn immediately,” said Eloranta following an SAK board meeting on Monday.

Eloranta emphasised that all members will be presenting a united protest front in one way or another. He didn’t want to elaborate on what member unions' counter actions would involve.

End of talks

Prime MinisterJuha Sipilä’s government wants to reduce the employment threshold for small businesses by changing the Employment Contracts Act. The aim of the government’s scheme is to increase employment by lowering the threshold for hiring. Essentially, the idea is that the easier it is for firms to fire employees, the more likely they'll be to hire them. Talks regarding the proposed bill came to an end in August and the government reported that the proposal was moving forward.

”We still don’t understand why this law needs to be pushed forward. It won’t help to increase employment, and it will lead to difficult legal situations in the workplace,” said Eloranta.

The union is also unhappy with the government's so-called activation model , which aims to boost employment figures by stimulating unemployed people to look for work, and the government's preparations for a second version of the measure.

According to information received by Yle, the next iteration of the activation model would require unemployment benefit recipients to complete an employment plan online and report on it monthly to their local TE unemployment office, among other things.

Other unions considering action

SAK’s largest member unions, PAM, representing private services sector employees, and JHL, the largest union for the welfare sector, have previously stated that they would embark on retaliatory action against the government’s plan. Now SAK's other unions are also considering retaliatory action.

SAK’s Tehy, the union of health and social care professionals, says it will prohibit overtime work, but the other unions have not yet said what action they will take.
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