THE FINNISH TRANSPORT and Communications Agency (Traficom) has announced it will initiate consultative negotiations with almost its entire staff over the redundancies of up to 120 employees on 2 December.
The topics of discussion will also include other cost-cutting measures, such as rationalising the operations of the agency that employs roughly 900 people in 15 localities across Finland.
The objective of the statutory process is to consolidate the financial position of the agency and secure the future of its core functions and services to citizens and organisations, according to a press release from Traficom. The negotiations will not, however, have an impact on the number of its regional offices.
Traficom underlined that all employees losing their jobs will be offered support in their re-employment effort. “The planning of the measures has begun in anticipation of the possible lay-offs, and the support services are an important topic addressed in the negotiations,” the press release reads.
The negotiations could continue until 20 January.
Traficom also highlighted that it expects to exceed its budget significantly not only this year, but also in the coming years. The economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic also makes it unlikely that its budget is expanded in the near future.
“The income accrued by the agency is expected to decrease as a consequence of the coronavirus in 2020–2021, and the pandemic is expected to affect the transport industry considerably at least for the next three years,” it said.
Trade Union Pro and the Negotiating Organisation for Public Sector Professionals (Juko) have branded the consultative negotiations as an over-reaction, arguing that the agency has enough transfer appropriations to at least cover its needs in 2021. The belt-tightening measures, they added, can undermine the agency’s ability to do its part for the health security of citizens on public transport and in transport terminals.
The trade unions also called for a response from the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications on Wednesday issued a press release stating that although it is not a party to the statutory negotiations, it expects that the issues are dealt with and the solutions sought in open collaboration between the parties.
“The ministry stipulates that the decisions made based on the consultative negotiations are evaluated and justified carefully and that also the ministry is notified of the justifications,” it said.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT