Helsinki (16.02.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) The Act on Co-operation within Undertakings must be reformed completely, insists the Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK. The existing law is not working as it was set out to do, in seeking to strengthen co-operation between employer and employees at the workplace.

The Act says its goal is to "promote the undertakings and its personnel’s interactive co-operation procedures" and to "collectively develop operations of an undertaking and the employees’ opportunities to exercise influence in the decisions made within the undertaking relating to their work, their working conditions and their position in the undertaking".

The purpose of the law is also to "improve the position of the employees and to support their employment in relation to changes in the operations of the undertaking".

Helsinki (08.02.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) Working life is changing and unions must find new ways to work and offer added value to their members. The Union of Journalists in Finland has started up a cooperative for journalistic and other kinds of media work.

A growing part of journalistic work is done on a freelance basis, outside collective agreements. The Union of Journalists in Finland organises freelancers offering many services like legal help, professional career advice and comprehensive education and training.

But many self-employed union members are none too happy with the bureaucracy and demands involved in being an entrepreneur and are looking for other ways to organise their work. Now the Union has come up with a possible answer to that: a cooperative for union members engaged in freelance work.

Helsinki (03.02.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) "Trade Unions in Europe represent the workers´ voice that must be heard", says Katja Lehto-Komulainen, the new Deputy General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation ETUC.

"The European trade union movement contributes to the change that is urgently needed in the EU. During the crisis workers paid the price. Unemployment and poverty rose. The European Union must be reshaped and reformed into a fairer and more social Europe", she stress.

Katja Lehto-Komulainen began her new work in Brussels in January. She replaces the Swede Veronica Nilsson, who moved to Singapore, where her husband was appointed French Ambassador.

JHL (03.02.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) The new JHL Union Council will be elected by direct ballot between 13.3. and 29.3.2017. The last date to enrol candidates for the election was at the end of January and there will be 1,176 candidates standing for Council seats.

The Union Council consists of 120 representatives. The new 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.

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

JHL (24.01.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) Some 11,000 new members joined the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL in the year 2016. With its 220 000 members JHL is the second largest union in Finland after the Service Union United PAM.

A clear majority of the new members were women (71.2 per cent) bringing the overall number of female members making up the union to 69 per cent.

The average age of those who joined last year was 38 years. The average age of union member as a whole remains the same as before, 52 years.

The most common professions of those joined in 2016 were practical nurses (512 new members), ward domestics (480) and personal assistants (342).

Helsinki (19.01.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) A planned merger of four industrial Trade Unions has faced a surprise backlash: the Left Alliance grouping in the Paper Workers' Union announced just before Christmas that they oppose the amalgamation. Three other unions will, however, continue the process towards a possible merger.

The amalgamation of Industrial Union TEAM, the Metal Workers' Union, the Paper Workers' Union and the Woodworkers’ Union has been under discussion for a couple of years now. Up till now preliminary decisions had had unanimous support and various working groups have been hard at work trying to resolve the practical details that need to be ironed out to put this into effect.

But now the Left Alliance group of the Paper Workers' Union say no. They have 30 per cent of the seats in the Union Council against the Social Democrats’ 70 per cent.

Helsinki (21.12.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) Plans for a joining of forces of four industrial trade unions are set to go forward. The Union Councils of all four unions discussed the pros and cons of this at their respective meetings in November and gave the green light for an amalgamation.

The unions behind the proposed amalgamation are the Industrial Union TEAM, Metal Workers' Union, Paper Workers' Union and Woodworkers’ Union. As of the beginning of this year the number of members that would be involved in this new venture has been calculated at 268,500 all told.

There are, however, still many questions to resolve. The principal political questions have been surprisingly easy to discuss. The reasons as to why such an amalgamation makes sense are widely understood in all Unions.

JHL (21.12.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) The minimum number of policemen should be defined by law, according to the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL. The Union encourages its members to sign a citizens’ initiative calling for action on this. 

Citizens’ initiative is a system that enables a minimum of 50,000 Finnish citizens of voting age to submit an initiative to Parliament to enact a piece of legislation.

In this case a citizens' initiative would sponsor the idea that the number of policemen should be sufficient to guarantee internal security, effective investigation of crimes and equal treatment for all citizens.

Helsinki (19.12.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) Sauli Väntti is the new President of the Electrical Workers´ Union. And the Union also won a victory in the Labour Court in its long struggle for the rights of the Polish electrical workers at the construction site of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant.

Sauli Väntti has been working at the Union for 21 years. Before being elected President he was in charge of collective bargaining in industry and special branches. Prior to his work for the Union he was employed as a telecommunications fitter.

The Union Council elected Väntti at the end of November when he received 40 votes against the 30 votes cast for the incumbent President Tero Heiniluoma. The latter had been President since May 2016, after Martti Alakoski, the President elected in 2004, stepped down.

JHL (19.12.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL prefers to invest in companies with as small a carbon footprint as possible. But the Union is also looking for a relatively good and secure return on investment.

Over the years JHL has accumulated major assets in terms of investments. The amount now totals 170 million euro, which works out at about 800 euro per member.

It is necessary for a trade union to have some assets in case of possible industrial actions. If a Union is not able to support its striking members, this makes its position weaker at the collective bargaining negotiation table.