Erkki Laukkanen: You Have To Get By With Your Salary

Erkki Laukkanen: Palkalla on tultava toimeen

Underpayment is a growing problem. Both national and international agreements are needed to solve it. The goal must be a salary that lasts.

What kind of salary do you get then?

There is no indisputable answer to this question. But according to Article 4.1 of the European Social Charter, a reasonable wage is at least 60% of the country’s average net wage. Wages lower than this are therefore something other than a reasonable wage.

The name of the problem now is that Finland has not ratified that article. It did not ratify it in 2002, not in 2007, not in 2012, and I do not think it intends to ratify it in 2017, when it will be possible to do so next time.

This is weird, very weird. This article has long been ratified by all the countries of Western and Northern Europe. Thus, in the debate on fair pay, Finland compares to that of Armenia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia and Georgia.

So what would change with ratification?

By ratifying the article on fair pay, Finland would set the general principles of fair pay: pay must be met. And corrective action will be taken if the lowest wages threaten to lag behind the country’s average wages. But for some reason Finland does not want to commit to these principles.

Why not? There are two formal arguments. According to the first, Finland lacks net wage statistics. Secondly, committing to a fair wage would violate the social autonomy of the social partners. This has been the case since 2001, regardless of the color of the government.

The European Social Committee considers both arguments to be bad. There are no net wage statistics in other countries either. And as far as the autonomy of the parties is concerned, there is nothing to prevent the agreement on a wage level of at least 60% of the average net wage in the country.

Who would benefit from a commitment to a reasonable wage?

Those who do paid work without a collective agreement would benefit the most. Today, they make up more than 10 percent of the workforce. In addition to them, those with a collective minimum wage of less than 60 percent of the country’s net average wage would also benefit. And there will always be more.

The left’s minimum wage proposal, an amendment to Chapter 2, Section 10 of the Employment Contracts Act, is based on the assumption that the minimum wage would be the lower limit of a reasonable wage, or 60 per cent of the country’s net average. pay. It should only pay for internships, without professionalism.

In 2016, the minimum wage thus defined would be about 10 euros per hour and later – depending on the development of the wage index – something else. The minimum wage thus offered would ensure that the lower end of the wage distribution – the lowest wages – never lags behind the overall wage trend in the country.

But isn’t this clearly good for everyone?

Labor market organizations, both employees and employers, have also been criticized. In that criticism, reasonable pay and contractual autonomy are still seen as mutually exclusive – as if nothing had been learned from the feedback that Finland has received from the EU Social Committee.

According to its feedback, fair pay is the hard core of the European Social Charter and should be treated as such. If it and its implementation are not taken seriously, the other objectives of the Charter will gradually lose their relevance.

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