HELSINKI – Minimum wage divides the nation

Following European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s campaign pledge of introducing a common minimum wage framework and her follow-up announcement in January stating that a statutory minimum wage would not be forced “in countries with high coverage of collective bargaining and where wage setting is exclusively organised through it”, Nordic countries, which rely on a traditional system of collective bargaining between employers and employees, started to question themselves.

In Finland, a poll carried out by news magazine Uutissuomalainena in January shows that citizens are divided on these issues.

According to the poll, more than half (52%) are in favour of a minimum hourly wage of €10, with people in management, entrepreneurs and young people between the age of 18 and 29 supporting the idea. Yet, while 25% rejected the idea, 22% remained undecided.

From a political standpoint, the two parties that are the furthest apart – the Greens and the Finns Party  – are those that support a minimum hourly minimum wage the most – both at 58%.

However, both the right and the left are strongly divided on the issue; 50% of voters of the Left Alliance and the Social Democrats support the idea, while between 48% and 40% of those who voted for right-wing parties (National Coalition Party, Centre Party) support the notion of an hourly minimum wage. 

Unsurprisingly, those resisting the idea the most are the unions, as neither the Finnish trade unions (SAK) nor the employer’s federation (EK) supports a statutory minimum hourly wage. (Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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