Finnish PM Orpo invites trade unions, employer groups to negotiating table

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) has invited representatives of key labour and employer organisations to discuss the future of Finland’s labour market model.

The talks will be held on Friday, at the PM’s official residence Kesäranta.

The discussions will review a government move to ensure that future proposals by the National Conciliator’s Office do not exceed the wage increases agreed to within the export sector.

The government and labour unions have been engaged in a months-long dispute over proposed labour market reforms, with last month seeing unions stage a series of political strikes in protest against the proposed reforms.

After the strikes, Orpo’s governing coalition survived a vote of confidence after opposition parties accused the government of refusing to hold genuine negotiations with labour market organisations.

In a statement to Yle, Orpo expressed a desire to rekindle negotiations that have previously stalled.

“The government hopes that the bipartite negotiations on the labour market model can be initiated, and I hope that this meeting will help,” Orpo said.

Katarina Murto, President of the Trade Union of Education in Finland (OAJ), shared that the PM had invited labour market stakeholders for talks in a post on the social media site X.

Employee and employer organisations set to meet

Invitees to Friday’s meeting include representatives from both employee and employer organisations involved in previously unsuccessful negotiations.

Among those representing employers include the Finnish Commerce Federation, the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland, the Employers’ Association of Service Sectors (Palta), the Technology Industries of Finland Employers, and the Local Government and County Employers (KT).

Members of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), the Finnish Confederation of Professionals (STTK), and Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland (Akava) will also be present at the talks.

Labour groups have opposed the government’s labour market and social security cutbacks, including by the use of political strikes. There may be new strikes announced this week, as SAK has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday 5 March.

Additionally on Tuesday, Parliament will debate two government proposals opposed by labour unions — legislation on labour strikes and the indexing of earnings-related unemployment benefits.

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