EK policy guidelines for the autumn wage bargaining
The autumn 2010 wage bargaining comes in the wake of a severe economic crisis that has substantially impaired the cost competitiveness of enterprises.
Statement by the Board of EK, 17 August 2010
The autumn 2010 wage bargaining takes place in the wake of a severe economic crisis that has substantially impaired the cost competitiveness of enterprises. Employee earnings rose by 3.9 per cent last year, even as Finland experienced a sharp drop of about 8 per cent in GDP.
While the economy has now begun growing again and the outlook for enterprises has improved, uncertainty continues particularly in the international economic situation.
Collective wage settlements have a significant impact on growth in the economy and employment. The Board of the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK considers it essential for the level and structure of wage settlements to support economic growth in all industries.
The Board of EK is urging federations of employers to increase opportunities for local wage formation at individual enterprises, and to ensure that wage settlements boost cost competitiveness, economic growth and employment.
A negotiated settlement concluded in the technology industries on 16th August enabling wages to be agreed at enterprise level. A general increase of one per cent will be paid if no common understanding can be reached locally.
The Board of EK stresses that in certain industries and at many enterprises there is no scope at all for wage increases owing to the economic situation or to impaired cost competitiveness. In order to curb rising labour costs, it is vital to ensure that no general increase exceeding one per cent is agreed in any industry. Enterprises must be given the opportunity to decide on the content of wage settlements.
The rise in public sector salary costs is unsustainable. The public sector deficit and negotiated salary increases exceeding those in the private sector in recent years have led to a situation in which the rise in labour costs must be halted. Wage settlements in local and central government must support this aim, and public sector agreements must not result in any further tax burden.
The Board of EK will continue the joint coordination of collective bargaining of the employer federations of EK in order to ensure moderation in wage policies.
The national government must also ensure that its budget decisions for next year do not impair competitiveness through any increase in employers’ social insurance contributions. Income tax policies must also sustain the purchasing power of employees.