The economic upturn of the last few years has not improved working conditions for Finnish workers, according to a survey conducted by the central trade union organisation SAK. The number of part-time and temporary jobs has increased, staff training has decreased and employees have no influence in the work place.
The survey, reported in the social democratic newspaper, Demari (18 January 2001), reveals that in spite of the almost over-heated economy, companies are reducing training at shop floor level, employ mainly women in part-time and temporary jobs and don't give employees a say in company affairs. In the last five years, the percentage of employees in so-called untypical working relationships has increased from 14 per cent to 26 per cent. Amongst women the percentage has increased from 16 per cent to 35 per cent. For young workers, a temporary job is common. Of them, 53 per cent don't have a permanent job. Five years ago, the figure was 40.
According to the survey, temporary jobs are often relatively long-lasting. Of all SAK members 20 per cent had a temporary job averaging three years. One surprising finding of the survey is that well-educated employees are even more likely to end up in a temporary job. Of people with a university degree, 41 per cent are doing temporary work. A SAK economist, Erkki Laukkanen, says that temporary employees can earn good money but have little job security.
A large proportion of SAK members, 60 per cent, think that employers put economic efficiency before everything else. The same percentage, however, believe that bosses trust their employees. Interest in the company's affairs is still high, although it has been weakening during the last five years. This is due to the rise in temporary jobs. Temporary workers feel that they cannot influence what is happening in the work place. Less than half of SAK members believe that they have a reasonable say in ther own work. Possibilities of influence are geater in the public sector. Part-time and temporary workers generally feel that they have hardly any influence.
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