Union confederation leaders' worried about deterioration
of three-tier cooperation
Helsinki (20.12.2010 - Juhani Artto) Since the late 1960s three-tier
cooperation between the government and the labour market organizations has
been an important element in the promotion of economic growth and in the
development of the Finnish welfare system. Now there are serious signs of
deterioration in this three-tier cooperation endeavour.
Therefore, it is no small wonder that the Presidents of the two largest
confederations, SAK's Lauri Lyly and STTK's Mikko Mäenpää, have become
alarmed by this trend. They have sought to analyse what has been happening
in the latest issues of their organizations' magazines, Palkkatyöläinen and
The present government (2010-), and the one before it (2007-2010), were keen
to cultivate the idea that they were supporters of three-tier cooperation
deeds have not always lived up to these assurances. These two governments
set up dozens of three-tier task forces but neither have respected the
results of their findings nor been committed to their proposals.
However, it is within the employer stronghold EK, The Confederation of
Finnish Industries that the interest in three-tier cooperation has most
Up until now, in this respect, its most important decision has been to
as an alternative, comprehensive income policy agreements. EK is not
interested in working for domestic consensus as the export industry
now rules the EK, Lyly concludes.
He warns the employers that probably they will have to face a more radical
trade union movement if the three-tier negotiating mechanism continues to
deteriorate. This would mean more strikes, rallies and boycotts.
STTK's Mäenpää stresses the need to coordinate economic, tax and labour
market policies. In the past much national policy and legislation was
formulated during regular meetings between representatives of the government
and the labour market organizations. At present that culture no longer
exists, he regrets to say.
"EK, labour confederations and political decision makers should have the
ability to create a common understanding on what will - or above all what
should - take place in the economy, taxation and labour market policy in the
next few years", Mäenpää maintains.
If such a common understanding were to emerge, then collective agreements
could be negotiated with less friction by national unions in various sectors
of the business world, Mäenpää says.