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Finnish trade union movement demands EU not intervene
in collective bargaining


Helsinki (22.02.2011 - Juhani Artto) The EU's plan to grab the right to control collective bargaining taking place in the Member States has been turned down outright by the Finnish trade union movement. This was the message of Mikko Mäenpää in his radio interview broadcasted on Monday morning by Yle. Mäenpää is the President of the Finnish Confederation of Professional STTK and a steering committee member of the European Trade Union Confederation ETUC.

He urges Finnish politicians to ensure that the EU will not intervene in working life matters at national level. Intervention on bargaining and pay levels would be steps in a wrong direction and would be opposed by the entire trade union movement, Mäenpää stresses.

The first sign of the new direction became public when a demand to cut the minimum wage was included in the bailout package for Ireland. It was a total surprise for the trade unions.

Mäenpää is also worried about the initiative of Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President Nicolas Sarkozy on harmonization of European taxation and pension policy. He does not oppose development of European working life in a more unified direction but it has to take place through the regular procedure based on directives.

In mid' March EU's finance ministries will sit down to tackle these issues. Mäenpää expects the Finnish minister Jyrki Katainen not to support initiatives that would allow collective bargaining and pension policy to be decided by the European Commission.