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ITSET Group: self-employed must have bargaining powers

Group says that the union must be able to represent self-employed at negotiations on pay and conditions – EU competition law poses no obstacle.

The ITSET Group, which represents self-employed people, has publicised a list of demands that it wants to see reflected in the programme of the next government, after the parliamentary elections next April.

ITSET’s aims are to improve the status of the self-employed on the jobs market. The self-employed currently have weak bargaining powers, have poor and fragmentary incomes and inadequate social security. The ITSET Group has proposed six measured to remedy the situation.

ITSET wants the self-employed to have bargaining powers in order to be able to negotiate on pay and conditions.

“The trade union must be able to represent self-employed workers at negotiations,” the states the ITSET Group.

European competition law does not preclude such bargaining, which are permitted in a number of countries, such as Germany, Denmark, and Austria. “For this reason competition law must also be changed in Finland so that collective advocacy by the self-employed becomes possible.”

“This is a crucial issue, and it figures prominently in the Journalist Union’s own goals for the government programme,” says UJF advocacy head Petri Savolainen.

“European examples demonstrate unequivocally that competition law does not preclude negotiation. This must also be taken care of in Finland. We are currently working most urgently on furthering the bargaining power of AV translators. ”

The ITSET Group also calls for self-employed workers to be included in labour law. People in the same position as paid employees should be considered as being in working relationships, which would bring security and clarity to their working careers. Moreover, the social security system should be developed so that it takes into account shifts from one from of work to another more flexibly.

The Group also states that occupational health care and copyright should be guaranteed for the self-employed.

The ITSET Group includes all the central organisations of employees, their unions, the UJF and Finnish Freelance Journalists.

“We have put a lot of effort into this over a long time. It’s an important and familiar issue to the UJF. The industry has always had freelancers, and self-employed make up a fifth of the union’s membership,” says Savolainen.

“Together with the ITSET Group we have met parliamentary committees and we will continue to do so. Advocacy work for the self-employed is being carried out continuously, and includes the union’s own advocacy activity. We have already met with the Social Democratic Party’s and the Green League’s parliamentary groups. Next, we’ll be meeting with the Coalition Party, and after that with the other parliamentary groups.”