In confrontation with labor unions over a governmental plan to make dismissals in small companies easier, the Finnish cabinet on Thursday gave up its position targeting companies with less than ten employees.
In a compromise presented to central labor organisation leaders at the prime minister's residence, "the number of employees in the company" and overall circumstances "would be taken into account" in court processes on dismissals.
Explaining the details to media, Prime Minister Juha Sipila said personnel dismissal would in most cases go to courts of law, anyhow, for assessment of legality and possible compensations.
Central labor organizations will review the government offer by Friday afternoon. Their chairmen offered no immediate comment when departing the prime minister's residence Thursday evening.
Political strikes against the governmental plan have continued for weeks now. As the latest measure, the industrial union began on Thursday a three-day stoppage in sawmills and plywood plants. For next week, unspecified major action by service sector workers has been announced.
In its compromise plan, the government also pledged that the practical implication of the existing law on "activating the unemployed" would be reviewed in tripartite talks among the government, the unions and the employers.
In line with the law, the unemployed who have not done some work during two months or participated in institutions enhancing their eligibility for labor market will lose part of their unemployment benefits.
The tripartite system prevailed in labor laws preparation in Finland since the 1960s, but the present government under Sipila has taken unilateral decisions when unanimity in the round tables are not reached. The laws on activation triggered major demonstrations last winter.
Teija Sutinen, an analyst for the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, noted on Thursday evening that even though the government is ready to skip targeting of companies under ten employees, it is not complying with the demand of the unions that the whole plan to change labor laws must be called off.