The package of measures, or social contract, agreed by labour market organizations and approved by the Sipilä government in early March is designed to promote competitiveness within the economy and boost growth. “From the point of view of employees, it’s maybe the best of a bad lot,” said UJF advocacy head Petri Savolainen on the announcement of the measures at the end of February.
The social contract is a negotiated alternative to a package of austerity legislation targeting pay and benefits that the government would otherwise introduce to cut labour costs by some 5%.
The legislation would have had a worse impact on journalists than employees in other sectors. The social contract will not be automatically binding on journalists, as the UJF does not belong to the confederations that negotiated the deal.
But Savolainen pointed out that the general line take in the social contract will have an influence on the negotiations the union conducts for new collective agreements.
“Take pay increases. It is difficult to negotiate on these if, according to the social contract coming into force, there are to be no pay increases.”
Savolainen said that the union would take a stance on the timetable for renewing its collective agreements independently and case by case, as it is not party to the social contract.
Over the coming weeks, the union will evaluate the potential impact of the social contract on collective agreements.