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Serious grounds to continue defending workers’ rights!

The government has not reacted to workers grave concerns of the consequences of cuts and weaker employment conditions. They threaten to weaken workers’ rights permanently. Therefore we continue to defend service sector workers’ terms of employment.

Last updated: 23.04.2024
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PAM opposes to anti-worker policies

The Orpo-Purra government pushes for anti-worker policies and at the same time it offers the biggest tax reductions to those who earn 12 000 euros a month. Parliament has already accepted the first cuts in unemployment security and housing benefits that take away up to hundreds of euros a month from part-time workers and the unemployed.

The Government has refused genuine dialogue with workers and the trade union movement. Dictating terms is not acceptable. We demand that the Government start genuine negotiations with workers’ representatives.

The government is preparing further cuts and reductions in employment conditions, including:

“Dismissal Act” – weakening of protection against dismissal

  • The government also wants to make it easier to fire people. In future there would be no requirement of “serious grounds” for dismissal.
  • If implemented, the dismissal law would significantly weaken employee protection against dismissal and overturn decades of legal practice.

Sickness penalty – unpaid sick leave day

  • The government wants to punish sickness with unpaid sick leave. You would not be paid for the first day of sick leave, unless otherwise agreed in your collective agreement.
  • For many workers, a sickness penalty would mean working while sick.

Limitation of workers’ right to strike

  • The government aims to weaken workers’ right to strike in several ways. The right to support strikes and political strikes will be restricted and the fines increased.
  • There are no plans to increase the fines for employers for non-compliance with collective agreements.

Further cuts to unemployment security

  • In autumn, the government aims to bring in historic cuts to unemployment benefits.
  • If implemented, the government’s staggered cut would reduce earnings-related unemployment benefits by 20% after just two months of unemployment.

Adult education allowance to be abolished

  • At a time when new skills and competences are constantly needed at the workplace, the government aims to abolish adult education allowance altogether.
  • The removal of it will particularly hit women, who have mostly received adult education allowance.

More fixed-term contracts

  • The government’s plan is that in future no justification will be needed for fixed-term contracts under a year.
  • The change will hit young workers at the beginning of their careers particularly hard and could lead to a cycle of fixed-term contracts.

The government has already implemented these cuts:

Severe cuts to earnings-related unemployment benefits

  • From 1 January 2024, waiting days were added for unemployment benefits and in future periodisation in holiday compensation will delay the start of payment of unemployment benefits.
  • On 1 April 2024, child increases were removed from unemployment benefits completely. This is a cut of 130–240 euros a month, depending on the number of children. At the same time, the protected amount in adjusted unemployment allowance will be removed, drastically cutting the incomes of part-time workers.

Cuts to housing allowance and other social security

  • The government did not make index increases to benefits at the turn of the year. No indexation increases are planned for 2024-2027, which means a significant cut in benefits in coming years.
  • General housing allowance is cut drastically as of April. Compensation levels fall, and the protected amount, which is important for part-time or casual workers, has also been removed from housing allowance. Municipality group 1 was abolished, i.e. support for those living in Helsinki is reduced.

Erosion of working conditions

  • No pay for the first day of sick leave
  • Job alternation leave abolished
  • “Relevant grounds” are enough to dismiss an employee
  • Conditions below the statutory standard may be agreed at workplaces with no shop steward
  • Special grounds for temporary employment only required when the job lasts for longer than one year
  • Hampering settlement of industrial disputes by limiting the powers of the national conciliator
  • A shortened period of layoff notice
  • No duty to re-engage dismissed workers in businesses with fewer than 50 employees

Restrictions on the right to strike

  • Restrictions on sympathetic and political strike action
  • A €200 fine for individual strikers when a strike is found to be illegal
  • A dramatic increase in union strike fines

Cuts in social welfare

  • Child supplements abolished in unemployment benefit
  • Earnings-related unemployment benefit already reduced after two months
  • A prolonged waiting period for unemployment benefit
  • Wage-subsidised employment no longer counting towards the employment condition for earnings-related benefit
  • A longer employment condition for earnings-related benefit
  • An employment condition based on prior earnings instead of working time
  • Cuts in housing allowance
  • Eligibility for unemployment benefit to begin only after phasing of outstanding holiday compensation
  • Obstacles to eligibility for social assistance
  • Abolition of the increased parental allowance rate payable for the first 16 ordinary weekdays
  • Abolition of the unemployment benefit and housing allowance portions that are protected during part-time working
  • Abolition of adult education benefit
  • Cuts in benefits for unemployed elderly workers

How you can participate

  1. Share information
    Talk about government’s measures at your workplace. We have put together materials that you can freely share or refer to. This includes a list of cuts, which you can print out or share digitally.
  2. Take part in the events
    Take part in events, sign petitions and attend demonstrations organized by PAM and other unions. In a democratic society you have the right to protest and to take part in industrial action decided your union.
  3. Make your voice heard
    Share, like and comment on social media under the #SeriousGrounds and #PainavaSyy hashtags. We also continuously look for members to interview. Would you like to talk about the effects of the government’s policies in your life? Let us know your interest in giving interviews here.
  4. Join PAM or recommend membership
    We are stronger together! If you’re not yet a PAM member, now is time to join and recommend our membership to your colleagues too.

Materials to print and share

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PAM is your union if you work in the private service sector as a salesperson, cleaner, waiter, cook, security guard or caretaker, for example. We negotiate the terms and conditions of your job.