Helsinki (31.3.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) The Social Democrats gained two new seats in the Union Council elections of the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL. The Left Alliance for their part lost two seats on the Council.

The 120 member strong JHL Union Council is elected by direct ballot every fifth year. The Social Democrats won 87 seats - two more than now - and the Left Alliance got 33 seats, two less than they have now.

The Council is the supreme policy making body of JHL. It also decides on union strategy, plan of action, budget, membership dues and approval of national collective agreements. The Council sits for a five year term.

The share of votes for the Social Democrats was 69.29 per cent and for the Left Alliance 29.72. Both lists had a slightly bigger share of votes than in the previous elections in 2012.

The Communists made up the third list of candidates, but with just 0.36 per cent of the votes they failed to get anyone elected to the Union Council. All the political groups also had nonaligned candidates on their lists.

Additionally, there were some independent candidates, but none of these were elected.

In the Union Council elections of 2012 the Centre Party, the Greens and the Finns Party also presented a list of candidates but did not succeed in winning any seats as they received less than one per cent of the votes each. This time they did not even bother to field candidates at all.

The number of votes polled was 54,578, which makes the election turnover 27.3 per cent. It went clearly down from the previous ballot, when the turnover was 37.2 per cent. Two thirds voted by mail, the rest electronically on the net.

In total there were 1,176 candidates standing for Council seats.

JHL unites professionals and students of welfare services in municipalities, the state and the private sector.

It had in the beginning of this year 213,222 members, which makes it the second biggest union in Finland. The Service Union United PAM has 231,295 members.

The new JHL Union Council will meet in Helsinki 5.-7.6.2017 and will then elect the Union President, the two Chief Executive Officers and the Executive Committee.

JHL President Päivi Niemi-Laine has already been asked to put herself forward as a candidate for the JHL presidency and she has agreed to this request.