Employer tries to circumvent working hour legislation by encouraging
employees to form cooperatives
JHL (08.08.2011 - Juhani Artto)
Raasepori is a town with a population of 29,000 situated on the Southern
coast of Finland.
And now the town council is encouraging family child-minders, employed by
the town, to give up their
current status and form cooperatives, established by themselves.
According to the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL, Märta
Wikström, Raasepori's director for the day-care sector, admits that this
the town is an attempt to circumvent the working hour legislation.
The motivation behind Raasepori's effort lies in the recent changes of
the municipal family child-minders' working hour regulations. Since August
1st 2011 working hour legislation also covers municipal family
child-minders. As a result the latter have seen their regular weekly working
shortened from 43.15 hours to 40 hours.
None of the town's 56 family child-minders is interested in the cooperative
model, Monica Rönnberg, the shop steward of the child-minders says. This
reluctance is no wonder as approving the proposed new status would mean
losing pension and other social benefits they now enjoy as municipal
employees. In other words they are not prepared to take on what are, in
effect, entrepreneurial risks.
The town has promised to pay higher remuneration for those who change over
to the cooperative model but – so far - it has not made the
proposed model attractive for the municipal family child-minders.
Child-minders cannot be dismissed or given notice by arguing the merits of
cooperatives, Minna Pirttijärvi
from JHL stresses.