Helsinki (15.6.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) The time of centralised nation level labour market agreements is over in Finland. The next round of collective bargaining will take place at union level. Unions are now preparing to set out their goals for these negotiations.

Since 1968 Finland has had a tradition of national trilateral labour market pacts. As of from that time, for the most part, some kind on national agreement has provided the framework for union level negotiations.

In March the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK terminated all national agreements with the trade union confederations. It is no longer willing to make any further national level labour market agreements.

This autumn Finland is heading towards a union level collective bargaining round. The existing collective agreements start to expire after summer and one of the first major collective agreements to be negotiated is in the paper industry.

JHL (08.06.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) Päivi Niemi-Laine is to continue as the President of the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL. The two Chief Executive Officers, Håkan Ekström and Teija Asara-Laaksonen will retain their posts as well.

Election to these top positions were passed unanimously at the first meeting of the newly elected JHL Union Council in Helsinki 5-7 June. The new Union Council Chairperson is Sirkka-Liisa Kähärä. All those elected sit for a five year term.

In her speech to the Council the Union Council Chairperson Sirkka-Liisa Kähärä said that in the next round of collective bargaining JHL should set a goal to get a real rise in pay for those earning the least.

Helsinki (22.05.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) The way clear for the merger of the Industrial Union TEAM, the Metal Workers' Union and the Woodworkers’ Union is now complete. All three unions have endorsed the merger unanimously.

The reason behind the amalgamation is to ensure that the voice of industrial workers will continue to be heard in the future. Measures attempting to restrict workers’ rights and their unions have been intensifying in Finland of late, and the unions must fight back.

The new amalgamated union will represent around 75 per cent of workers involved in Finland's export of goods. This will naturally mean the newly amalgamated union is in a very much stronger position when it comes to collective bargaining.

Helsinki (11.05.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) There were only 69 labour disputes in Finland in 2016, Statistics Finland reports. The number of lost working days was 6,584. To find similar figures in Finland one has to go back to the 1960's.

In 2015, the figures were much higher: 163 labour disputes with 108,911 working days lost.

In 2016, in 36 per cent of the disputes, the reason was employers’ plans to cut staff or the threat of redundancies. This often led to protest action by employees, like walkouts, to express concern over employer plans.

JHL (08.05.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) The last two years have been a continuous struggle for wage and salary earners against the attacks by the Government, says JHL President Päivi Niemi-Laine when speaking on May Day in the city of Oulu.

The Government has been threatening Sunday and overtime allowances, the right to sign collective agreements and unemployment benefits.

"The list is woefully long. The Government has even been making cuts to early childhood education and to education from vocational schools to universities", Niemi-Laine says.

"Under this Government employees have repeatedly been given the message that a just salary and fair conditions of work is something not for them, but for the managers earning the millions they do."

Helsinki (03.05.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) Retail managers held a 12 hours warning strike right after May Day. The walkout is in support of their right to a collective agreement.

The Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff YTN wants to negotiate a collective agreement for retail managers. The Employers' Finnish Commerce Federation absolutely refuse to have any kind of collective agreement or any other union level agreement with them.

YTN is representing managers and  senior salaried employees in the retail sector. YTN is a collective bargaining organisation for the private sector inside the Akava trade union federation. Akava members work in professional, teaching and managerial positions.

JHL (27.04.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) There are at least 25 000 personal assistants currently employed in Finland. They make the daily life of disabled persons easier, work as their hands, eyes, ears and feet.

However, there is no generally accepted education for the job, writes JHL Bargaining Officer Veikko Lehtonen in the JHL blog . But there is a big need for it, he adds.

Many educational institutions have built their own education and training for personal assistants. This is a positive thing, but has led to a situation where some 30 institutions are providing their own education without a joint curriculum or goals.

Helsinki (20.04.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) A large number of trade union activists and rank and file members were once again elected onto the municipal councils in the Finnish local elections.

The right wing populist Finns Party suffered serious losses in the elections, garnering just 8.8 per cent of the votes cast - a dramatic fall off in support from the parliamentary elections in 2015, when the party got an amazing 17.7 per cent of the votes.

A clear signal, perhaps, that the nationalist populist, anti-EU and anti-immigration platform  is beginning to lose its appeal. The Finns Party business-orientated policy in Government has also been quite the opposite to their election slogans that promised to support working people.

JHL (05.04.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) Planned regional reform does not mean municipalities will disappear, says Minna Salminen, JHL Special Adviser of Public Affairs.

Municipalities and the regions will have very close co-operation in the future, in particular with regard to social and health care services, but also in areas like the emergency service.

The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL organise professionals and students of welfare services in municipalities, the state and the private sector.

Finland is facing a new administrative situation, should the planned regional reform be passed by Parliament. All public social welfare and health care services will be transferred from municipalities to the 18 autonomous regions by the beginning of 2019.

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.