Employers' attempts to weaken trade unions in Finland show the need for all of us to fight for stronger unions and strengthened collective bargaining. These are the aims of our 'Together at work' campaign.

Finnish employers have taken very damaging positions in this year’s negotiations that have started in October 2019. Employers are demanding a lowering of labour costs and lengthening working hours and, even more alerting, are trying to weaken trade unions by pushing for major restrictions of industrial actions and destroying the system of deducting trade union membership fee from salaries. This could severely weaken trade unions’ financial capacity.

These events go far beyond normal disputes about wage increases and labour condition. They represent in fact, a weakening of labour relations and power balance. In its emergency statement, the Executive Committee of industriAll Europe, meeting in Helsinki on 26.-27. November, therefore:

  • reaffirms that balanced labour relations and collective bargaining are beneficial for workers and for industries in Europe
  • disapproves all attempts of weakening functional national labour relations and traditions, and
  • encourages the Finnish employers to seek measures that are benefiting both workers and industries in Finland by negotiations, instead of putting forward disruptive demands.

“We are very concerned by attempts to weaken trade unions in Finland and the deterioration of labour relations in a country normally known for its consensus-driven approach” stated Luc Triangle, General Secretary of industriAll Europe. “It shows the need for all our affiliates to keep on fighting for stronger unions and strengthened collective bargaining - which are the aims of our ‘Together at work’ campaign.”

For more information and further comment please contact senior policy adviser on collective bargaining Isabelle Barthes.