[Finland] Minimum wage proposed by business lobby

Suggestions from The Federation of Finnish Enterprises - a business lobby - say Finland could establish a minimum wage, Yle Uutiset reports.

Mikael Pentikäinen - the federation’s CEO - said it was time for the country to consider whether it should outline sector-specific minimum pay. The story was first covered by Lännen Media (LM), a local news conglomerate.

Finland doesn't have a nationally-appointed minimum wage unlike several EU states with minimum wage laws. The country has instead practised collective bargaining since the 1970s, with employers and trade unions regularly negotiating wage agreements on both the national and industry-specific level.

Mr Pentikäinen acknowledged that introducing a minimum wage would weaken Finland’s collective bargaining system. He explained, “A set minimum wage would, however, enforce a price floor below which workers could not sell their labour."
STTK - the white-collar union confederation - said it did not see any reason for Finland to introduce a minimum wage. Timo Harakka - the Employment Minister - echoed the STTK's opinion. He tweeted that Nordic-style collective bargaining was a functioning system.

Katarina Murto - head of the STTK’s collective bargaining unit - said collective agreements cover around 90 per cent of Finnish workers. The agreements specify minimum pay rates for various sectors. According to Ms Murto, any changes to this practice would exert downward pressure on salaries and weaken workers’ positions.

Ms Murto also that said countries with low collective labour security employ minimum wage laws to safeguard workers. She reportedly told LM that the minimum wage proposal the Federation of Finnish Enterprises had made was ultimately an attempt to water down the current system.