JHL (07.10.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) JHL is concerned about the Finnish Government’s desire to continually cut earnings-related unemployment benefits.

By the decision of the Government parties the maximum length of earnings-related unemployment benefit will already be cut by 100 days, from 500 days to 400 days in the beginning of 2017. For those who have been active in working life less than three years the number of days will be cut from 400 to 300.

But now the Government is planning even more cuts in unemployment benefits.
- The Government must now find the new jobs to balance the cuts in income of wage and salary earners agreed in the national competitiveness pact, says JHL President Päivi Niemi-Laine.

Helsinki (28.09.2016 – Heikki Jokinen) The Finnish trade union movement backed demonstration against racism and violent right-wing extremism received widespread support. The demonstration in Helsinki at the end of September saw more than 15 000 people come together to make their feelings felt.

Thousands of people gathered in front of the Government House in Helsinki to protest against racism and violence. The demonstration was in reaction to the death of a 26-year-old Finnish man assaulted during a neo-Nazi rally earlier this month.

The Peli poikki (Stop this game) demonstration clearly signaled that people have had enough of racism and extreme right-wing violence. According to the organisers of the demonstration the culture of silence only nurtures those who seek to sow hate.

Helsinki (23.09.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) The three Finnish trade union confederations have a joint office in Brussels, Finunions. Now one of the three, Akava, has decided to end its cooperation.

Finunions has been representing the Finnish trade union movement in Brussels since 1991. The office has two employees. The director's vacancy is filled for two years periods, alternately by all three confederations.

The board of Akava, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland decided on 21 September that their participation in the Finunions venture does not correspond to the goals and actions setout in Akava’s strategy.

JHL (05.09.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) The JHL Union Council elected Päivi Niemi-Laine to continue as the JHL President at the beginning of September.

She has been President of JHL since June when the previous President Jarkko Eloranta was elected President of SAK, the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions.

Päivi Niemi-Laine has been working in JHL since 2009. And from 2012 until June she has been JHL Vice President and Chief Executive Officer.

Helsinki (30.08.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) A pilot scheme is selecting 2,000 unemployed to receive a basic income of 560 euro a month. The pilot is due to get off the ground in January 2017.

The Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has published a draft bill in relation to the basic income pilot project. The idea is to choose by means of random sampling a test group of 2,000 people between the ages of 25 - 58 who are now receiving a basic unemployment allowance or labour market support under the Unemployment Security Act.

The monthly 560 euros is tax-free and will be paid by Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. Participation in the pilot is obligatory in order not to distort the results.

JHL (25.08.206 - Heikki Jokinen) No additional cuts to public services within the next three years. This is the core of the greetings JHL is sending to the Government that is now preparing for the state budget for the year 2017.

The Government should desist from making further cuts in financing the public services, weakening services and worsening the situation of employees for the next three years, says JHL President Päivi Niemi-Laine. The cuts concerning holiday bonuses in the public sector had already been agreed on for the next three years.

Helsinki (Heikki Jokinen - 19.08.2016) Some 14 500 seasonal garden workers and wild berry pickers arrived in Finland this year from outside the European Union. This is the highest number ever.

Finnish legislation with respect to ‘everyman’s right’ gives a broad right for anyone to use the vast nature areas of the country with few restrictions. This legal concept which is accepted in the other Nordic countries too, applies also to private land.

The means that wild berries and mushrooms may be picked freely wherever everyman’s right applies. Picking and selling wild berries is also tax free.

For many years some 3 000 - 4 000 wild berry pickers have arrived in Finland every year, especially from Thailand. Their situation has been discussed a lot in recent years as the companies inviting pickers to Finland have left many unpaid or without proper accommodation.

Helsinki (05.08.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) Nokia has broken the law by paying salaries which were too low to Polish, Chinese and Indian employees in Finland. The Regional State Administrative Agency issued a warning to the company regarding the matter of wage discrimination.

According to the public broadcaster Yle, the Regional State Administrative Agency noticed that Nokia paid much less to their foreign employees than to Finnish employees.

The warning issued concerns 19 Polish, 36 Chinese and 40 Indian employees who were working at Nokia 2014 - 2015. According to Yle the foreign employees’ pay had been 50 - 75  per cent less than that for Finnish employees in similar jobs.

JHL (19.07.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) All public social welfare and health care services in Finland will be transferred from municipalities to the 18 soon to be established autonomous regions in line with the new draft legislation. More than 200,000 people will have a new employer by the beginning of 2019.

Reform of social welfare and health care services has been a long-debated issue in Finnish politics. At the end of June the centre-right Government presented their main policy objectives in a 600 page legislation package. But this is not all: more draft bills are to follow.

Drafting the legislation was a controversal issue for the Government. Prime Minister Sipilä’s Centre Party, which is strong outside the major cities, wish to establish a large number of regions with broad autonomy.

Another Government party, the National Coalition Party, was a keen advocate of the privatisation of public services and comprehensive participation of private service providers in public healthcare.

Helsinki (14.07.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) Finnish business and industry organisations have begun a comprehensive campaign against the generally binding nature of collective agreements. This struggle is supported by right wing politicians.

An important part of the Finnish labour market model are the generally binding collective agreements. This means that even employers who are not members of an employers' association must comply with a nationwide collective agreement that is considered representative of the field in which the company operates.

Companies that are organised in the employers' association naturally follow collective agreements signed by their association.