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Trade Union News from Finland
STTK:
Proposals of labour market organizations setto extend work careers and safeguard justice

STTK (26.03.2012) The government had asked labour market organizations to agree on proposals on how to extend work careers. The agreement that has now been reached between the labour market organizations will have the effect of simultaneously extending work careers and safeguarding inter-generational justice, says the Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK. Its board approved the negotiation outcome on Thursday. Mikko Mäenpää, the President of STTK, is satisfied with the common understanding that has once again been found through negotiations between the labour market organizations.

"It is signal of activity that promotes stability and culture of reaching consensus."

The parties agreed on increasing pension contributions for two years (2015-2016).

"This raise is unavoidable in order to safeguard sustainability in the pension system financing. Moreover, young people have to be able to trust in the Finnish earnings-based pension system", Mäenpää stresses.

In his opinion the agreement that has been reached serves to enhance unemployment security in a way that actively encourages people to seek out work.

"It is quite right that an active employee should be entitled to unemployment security that lasts longer and offers higher compensation. It is also good and commendable that the 'unemployment tube' is to be maintained and that the security of aging unemployed people is to be improved."

The agreement draws clear road map for reforming the pension system.

"Well-governed reform is needed to safeguard - for the future also - sufficient pension security and inter-generational justice. In defining and determining the age of retirement, the increase in life expectancy has to be one of the guiding criteria. Clearly, any increase in life expectancy must logically have an impact on the time one spends in working life."

"When shaping reform in this area it is important to examine all the elements that influence the system. These elements are the pension forms, age limits, pension accumulations, index development and pension contributions", lists Mäenpää.

As to the proposals of the task force, led by Jukka Ahtela, Mäenpää emphasizes the significance work place age programmes, individual career plans of ageing employees and the right to rehabilitation which will now be extended to encompass employees over 63 years of age also. STTK's President believes that the proposals of the labour market organizations will be of assistance to the government when making decisions on the budgetary framework.

"The most important task of the government is to improve employment and to alleviate unemployment. Instead of heavy-handed cuts Finland needs a growth strategy that creates new growth and jobs in new industries."