SAK wants lowest pay to be raised to EUR1,800 per month by 2016
Helsinki (23.05.2011 - Juhani Artto) The union confederation SAK is set to
approve EUR1,800 per month as its next goal for minimum pay. This proposal
is included in the draft action program 2011-2016 for the SAK Congress on
June 6-8 in Tampere. The idea is to reach the goal by 2016.
For readers in low pay countries the goal may sound extravagant but when the
high level of Finnish taxation, cost of living and prices for daily
necessities is taken into consideration EUR1,800 per month only offers a
very basic standard of living, even for a single person.
In real terms this would bring it into line with the norm set by the EU in
its Social Charter. According to the latter a wage or salary is decent when
the after-tax or net income is at least 60 per cent of the national median
At the moment the lowest acceptable pay should be close to EUR1,600 per
month if the norm is respected. Unfortunately, this is not the situation.
There are still employees, holding down full-time jobs, who receive less
than EUR1,500 per month - SAK's minimum pay goal in recent years.
In Finland there is no legislation regarding minimum pay. The lowest levels
of pay are determined by collective agreements. Most of them are generally binding
in nature. Also employers who are not organised have
to apply them. This, with the high organising rate, means that an
overwhelming majority of wage and salary earners are covered by
the collective agreements.
The entire Finnish trade union movement is unanimous in rejecting an
alternative model where minimum standards would be defined by legislation. In
most EU Member States there is minimum pay legislation.
In Finland, as elsewhere within the EU, the most miserable wages are paid to
immigrant labour working for shady domestic and foreign employers. And then
there are thousands of minors and immigrants who distribute ads and
free-of-charge publications getting in return only a few euros per