Helsinki (09.06.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) People working in new forms of work tend to be undetectable when it comes to the trade union radar, says Jarkko Eloranta, the newly elected President of SAK, the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions. Unions must be able to identify these people and reach out to them. In short, get them on board and improve their situation, he stressed.

The Congress of SAK unanimously elected Eloranta as the 21st president of the 109 years old Confederation at its Congress in Tampere on June 7.

In his acceptance speech Eloranta said that one of the most important tasks of SAK will be to draft guidelines for new ways of working and to modify social security so as to make it more appropriate for new forms of labour.

"We absolutely need to address both of these questions. Things cannot be fixed just by tinkering with the social security system, nor can the taxpayer even afford this", Eloranta said.

The new forms of work also challenge the trade union movement to modernise its approach.

People working in new forms of work remain undetectable under the trade union radar, Eloranta went on. ”However, outside the radar signal things happen that also affect our existing members.” Unions must get those in atypical employment on board and improve their situation, he stressed.

”The amount of fragmented, short-term and part-time work and the continuing growth of zero-hour contracts are phenomena that must be tackled. We are also increasingly seeing various ways of becoming self-employed.”

Eloranta also pointed out that the last year has eroded wage and salary earners’ trust in the Government. Now is the time to strengthen cooperation between labour market partners and the Government by consolidating tripartite cooperation.

”The Competitiveness Pact awaits final ratification and the employees have done their bit. It is now up to the Government to ensure that the conditions for improving employment delivered under the Pact are not wasted.”

Finnish society is fundamentally and solidly based on the ability to make agreements in the labour market, and provide public services, social security and education, Eloranta added.

”Even small cracks in the this basic structure might under pressure grow into gaping holes. In the event of that happening the consequences could prove to be unpredictable and serious.”

Jarkko Eloranta (born 1966) has been President of Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL since November 2011.

SAK with its 993 000 members is the strongest and most formidable of the three Finnish trade union confederations. It was established in Tampere in the year 1907.

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Jarkko Eloranta enjoys broad support as choice for next SAK president (03.05.2016)