Thousands demonstrate against the active model
More than 10,000 people gathered on the Senate Square in Helsinki to participate in the protest against the so-called “active model” for unemployed persons. The Industrial Union had announced that a political strike would be staged on Friday, and it is estimated that more than 200,000 workers from various unions were on strike on February 2nd.
The active model received harsh criticism from the demonstration’s participants. The members of the Industrial Union feel that the model is non-functional, ill-conceived, and unfair.
The active model went into effect at the end of 2017, and means that if an unemployed person has not worked or participated in employment-promoting services to a sufficient extent, his or her unemployment benefits will be cut by 4.65 percent for three months.
Furthermore, the model does not treat unemployed persons in different parts of the country equally. The Constitutional Law Committee has also emphasized this shortcoming. An unemployed person can do nothing if his or her city’s employment and economic development office fails to offer job or labour market training.
The active model also shows no mercy in its treatment of unemployed persons over the age of 60. Older unemployed persons have previously received unemployment benefits through so-called “additional days.” These benefits helped them to make ends meet until they could begin collecting their retirement pension, but now it too is facing cutbacks.
The model also contradicts the controversial competitiveness agreement, which the union only approved because the government promised to refrain from making more cuts to unemployment benefits. That promise has now been broken.