Helsinki (18.06.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) The goal of creating a new big trade union confederation in 2017 has failed. The unions involved in the process decided at a meeting at the beginning of June that the project would not continue.
The idea was to establish a new trade union confederation to replace the existing Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK and Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions SAK.
This would have made the trade union movement stronger. On the employer side the organisations are already united under one umbrella.
However, the broad and genuine enthusiasm for a new union confederation began to slowly fade away, for many reasons. Some STTK unions said they were not prepared to join the new confederation and some even transferred their affiliation to another confederation Akava, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland.
The reasons for why this happened are analysed in more detail in Trade Union News from Finland 29 April 2016.
Under these circumstances the unions involved were left with no choice but to call a halt to the project. In their joint meeting the unions said that SAK and STTK will continue as independent organisations, but reaffirm that closer cooperation and developing the work of wage and salary earners will be even more important in the future.
The projects' materials and policy lines to build new forms of cooperation and to prepare issues together will be put to good use, the unions stress.
Also, given the turbulent situation in the labour market there is more need than ever for cooperation across trade union confederation lines, the unions claim.
Jarkko Eloranta, the new chairperson of SAK insists that the reasons for establishing a new joint confederation have not disappeared.This would have been a major opportunity to renew the trade union movement, he stresses.
Jorma Malinen, Trade Union Pro chairperson says he does not believe that the idea of closer cooperation is completely buried.
He reiterates that several unions were in favour of a new confederation. And he believes that some of these unions will put forward new initiatives and that within the next year there will be new ideas on how to continue.
Serious difficulties in establishing a new trade union confederation (29.04.2016)