Keeping a Close Eye on Salaries
The goverment and universities made a collective agreement with moderate salary solutions in the early spring. The agreement was made in order to maintain industrial peace, to launch the unparalleled parental leave reform and to accelerate the RDI programme that had been agreed on at the parliamentary level.
The willingness to reach an agreement was increased by Russia’s unlawful and cruel offensive war and variably increased insecurity. The agreement does, in fact, contain an option to reconsider it after one year.
The agreement does, in fact, contain an option to reconsider it after one year.
Some unions and employers chose differently: the wages of nurses remain unresolved. Arguments justifying a higher salary and arguments against it fly around in the media. I wonder whether anyone understands what kind of a combination of better management, salary harmonisation and improvements to working conditions would be required to reach an agreement and with what costs?
In the reforms of social welfare and healthcare and rescue services, the responsibility for reaching an agreement falls on the government. And the situation is not made easier by the agreement of the local government sector, where salaries are locked to be higher than what has been reached in other sectors, and they include automatic increases. Not everyone involved in agreements views this positively.
Based on the increase in productivity, employees have earned their salaries.
The purchasing power and fairness of salaries is important. Salaries can be raised as qualitative or quantitative productivity increases, or through bargaining power.
During COVID times, members of the university community have handled increasing numbers of students, acquired new ways of working, digitalized teaching and dealt with the various side effects of the pandemic. Finnish universities have maintained their international standing with reasonable costs. Based on the increase in productivity, employees have earned their salaries.
But energy prices are going up when the European energy market, which has been based on the “Wandel durch Handel” interdependence, has tied itself to a fossil fuel ball and chain. The end of COVID lockdown measures transfers demand back to services that were adapted earlier.
Scarcity allows for price increases.
Scarcity allows for price increases. The increase of necessary living costs alone exceeds the agreed salary raise, and our purchasing power decreases.
The government’s draft budget 2023 says: “The importance of a moderate labor market solution cannot be emphasized enough. Competitiveness is difficult to achieve but easy to lose.”
We have reached a moderate agreement, but does it correspond to the increase in productivity and is it fair? The option will likely be useful.