Trade unions satisfied with
the new government programme
Helsinki (20.06.2011 - Juhani Artto) The basic
line of the new government programme is acceptable to the trade unions. This indisputable conclusion
may be drawn from early comments made by the Presidents of the three union
confederations (Akava, SAK, STTK) and also from the reactions of Presidents
of several large national trade unions, such as JHL and PRO.
The 89-page programme consists not only of general outlines with respect to
future policy but numerous concrete solutions. The government is determined
to put an end to growing inequality and bring about at least a modest
improvement in the standard of living of poor people. The spike in the
budget deficit will be slowed down significantly and unemployment will
decrease, assuming that the fairly brisk economic growth continues. Trade
union leaders regard trends of this nature as necessary and fair.
Union leaders praise the strong emphasis on cooperation with labour market
organizations concerning, for example, coordination of economic and
employment policies and labour legislation reforms. Employer representatives
are less enthusiastic in their comments on the eagerness to lean on
Trade union leaders are satisfied on the commitments to step up the fight
against the grey or black economy. The programme promises legislation that
will make it mandatory for construction workers to have with them at all
times an identity card with a photograph and tax number.
The programme of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen's six-party government was
announced on Friday. The new government will most probably be appointed on
Thursday. The coalition will be made up of the National Coalition Party (6
ministers), the Social Democratic Party (6), the Left Alliance (2), the
Green Party (2), the Swedish People's Party (2) and the Christian Democrats
The programme outlines the government’s policy for the next four years - if
the coalition is able to hold together for the entire election period and
thus follow the pattern that has persisted for the last three decades.
Negotiations leading up to the formation of the incoming government and its
programme needed more time than in the recent past. It reflects the
difficulties of forming a coalition that includes parties from both the
right and the left. Each party has had to make a large number of
During the negotiations the True Finns, who won a huge victory in the April
17 Parliamentary elections (39 seats out of 200), were not prepared to
compromise on its strong anti-EU position, making it impossible for their
party to be included in any of the majority government options.
The opposition will now be made up of the True Finns and the Centre Party
(which was the largest party from 2003 to 2011). In Parliament, these two
opposition parties together hold 75 seats out of a total of 200.