Helsinki (26.08.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) The incumbent Akava President Sture Fjäder was re-elected for another four year term. He emerged successful in the Congress elections on 25 August with 578 votes against 292 votes for Maria Teikari.

Sture Fjäder (born 1958) has been the President of Akava, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff since 2011. Akava is one of the three Finnish trade union federations. At the beginning of this year, Akava had 36 member unions totalling 608,811 members.

In his speech to the Congress Fjäder made particular mention of how the Finnish labour market system was working well during the exceptional time of this coronavirus crisis.

Labour market organisations drafted several swift proposals to safeguard jobs, and the income of those affected by temporary lay-offs and redundancy, and for companies and vital functions of society.

Fjäder also said that this spring the Akava Board has begun to draft a plan to continue reconstruction up until 2024 after the crisis. The Board sees it as especially important to invest in education and competence, better welfare and measures to improve employment.

The importance of education

"Among other tasks, we must work together to uphold the rate of unionisation and to listen to the voices of our young people", stressed Fjäder in his speech after the elections.

"One of the fundamental objectives is, of course, to oversee matters related to the working life of our members during this exceptional time resulting from the corona crisis."

"I carry a great deal of responsibility and concern for ensuring that the employment situation of those with higher education is strengthened and that their financial situation is not weakened despite the increasing national debt incurred by Finland", Fjäder added.

"Education, competence and the utilisation of researched information is more important now than ever before. Finland’s success has been and will continue to be founded on high levels of competence. It is precisely this that Akava safeguards."

Maria Teikari (born 1987) works as the Service Director at the Social Science Professionals YKA, one of the Akava member unions.

In her campaign she stressed the importance to reach young people and to organise them.

"It is time for Akava to recognise its own values", she wrote before the Congress. "We must raise equality among our main goals. Discrimination in work and equal pay cannot be only a subordinate clause on the agenda for a self-respecting trade union movement."

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Two candidates for Akava President (15.05.2020)