The development of working hours legislation in Finland in the 1990s : still a case of corporatist policy making?
Working hours has become, besides unemployment, the most important labour market issue in the European Union (EU) and other European countries during the 1990s. The aim of the thesis is to discuss, analyse and evaluate how the issue of working hours legislation is resolved in Finland, a Finland that differs significantly from previous decades. The main concepts in the thesis are corporatism and corporate pluralism, both underlining consensual policy making. The thesis focuses mainly on a third level of consensus, labelled policy consensus. The overall research question is what an in-depth sectoral analysis of working hours legislation can tell us about labour market policy making in Finland in the 1990s. The empirical material is based on both official and unofficial material from the decision making processes, complemented by interviews with the major participants. Although the main focus is on Finland, comparisons with Sweden and the United Kingdom are made. The result of the analysis is that the development of working hours legislation, and Finnish labour market policy making overall in the 1990s, is characterised by one-dimensionality. The one-dimensional politics brings with it some side effects, the most important being an intolerance of dissensus and opposition in the name of consensus. The consensus politics in Finland are therefore no more than a rule by the more powerful. The normative justification of the inclusion of main economic interest groups in terms of their knowledge of the issues is questionable, since knowledge has become overshadowed by power. The use of the corporatist concept if also inappropriate when it comes to Finnish labour market policy making, since it is debatable whether labour market policy making in Finland has adhered to any distinct forms of the concept.