Helsinki (03.05.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) Jarkko Eloranta, president of Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL will most probably be the next president of SAK, the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions. A comprehensive delegation of SAK union leaders asked him to be a contender and he said yes.

Eloranta (born 1966) has been the president of JHL since 2011. JHL is a trade union for employees in the public services and private welfare services sector with 255,039 members. This makes it the second biggest trade union in Finland after the Service Union United PAM with 232,140 members.

At the moment Eloranta is chairing the SAK General Council and also Chairperson of the Finnish Public Services Unions’ EU Working Party FIPSU. Prior to that he has been a member of the SAK board and is now a member of the important six-member strong SAK Steering Committee.

Eloranta is a board member of the European Federation of Public Service Unions EPSU and of the Public Services International PSI.

Lauri Lyly, the president of SAK announced that he will not stand for a new term in the SAK congress in Tampere in June 2016. Lyly has been chairing SAK since 2009 and is a former president of the Electrical Workers´ Union.

The delegation asking Jarkko Eloranta to accept candidacy for the SAK presidency was composed of practically all the SAK unions, e.g. The Service Union United PAM, The Electrical Workers´ Union, The Industrial Union TEAM, The  Woodworkers’ Union, The Metalworkers' Union and Eloranta's own union JHL.

This means that Eloranta will enjoy the support of a broad majority of the Congress delegates. So far there has been no other candidates for the post.

Humble but glad

The spokesman for the union delegation, the Metalworkers' Union president Riku Aalto said that as president of a major union Eloranta has extensive experience in the work of the trade union movement.

”SAK will get a president who can advocacy and can successfully lead the biggest trade union confederation towards new challences”, Aalto says.

Chaiperson of the JHL Council, Päivi Lilleberg, stress Eloranta's merits in working for a more equal and just working life.

”He has done excellent work in our union and now the work will continue on behalf of the SAK as a whole. Jarkko has a lot of ability, vision and know-how”, Lilleberg says.

Jarkko Eloranta says he feels humbled but glad in view of the broad union delegation support. He is ready to allow his name be put forward and prepared to face the challenges out there. ”When there is support, then you go forward, not backwards.”

Eloranta also stressed that the world and the labour market is changing. The trade union confederation, too, has to think about its role. New ideas need to be developed further.

Jarkko Eloranta is a Master of Political Science with international politics and economics as the main subjects. He will be the first SAK president with an academic education background since the establishment of the existing form of SAK in 1969. Eloranta is a member of the Finnish Social Democraic Party.

SAK is a confederation of 20 trade unions in industry, the public sector, transport and private services. It has a total of 992,716 members, and 53.8 per cent of these are men.