PAM: Government has cut a lot – and continues along that road
Ms Ann Selin, The Service Union United PAM’s president, points out that during its present term the Sipilä government has systematically cut back the funding of public sector services and vocational training. The risk with the 2019 budget is that social sustainability will suffer.
The Service Union United PAM is worried that the cuts made by the government in this term will remain permanent. Unless they are compensated in the coming term, there will be a risk for increasing inequality.
“Thanks to the good financial situation, the budget session resulted in small additional funds here and there but people seem to have forgotten quickly that the funding of vocational training, for instance, was cut with over 200 million euro during this government term. The extra funding of 15 million euro, promised by various ministries already in the frame budget session last spring, is small fry compared to that”, Ms Selin claims.
In addition to vocational training, the government has cut back the maximum allowed duration of earnings-related unemployment benefit, made the situation of the unemployed more difficult by imposing a model for active job-seeking, and endangered the income of those in the weakest position by freezing index-related increases of various benefits. It would have been possible to cancel these cutbacks in the present budget session.
“We are also disappointed that the government did not cancel the weakening of employees’ protection against dismissal in companies with less than 20 employees. The government has already extended the duration of employees’ trial period, reduced the companies’ re-employment obligation of former employees and increased fixed-time employment possibilities for the long-term unemployed. The weakening of protection against dismissal places the employees in companies of different sizes in an unequal situation and there is no evidence that this weakening will have an effect on reducing unemployment”, Ms Selin states.
Nevertheless, PAM wishes to thank the government for tax decisions which will genuinely improve employment, e.g. rises of the sums for basic tax deduction and earned income deduction. They will improve the situation of low-income employees and further make it more worthwhile to accept employment offers.