Helsinki (21.08.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) The position of those with zero-hours contract must be improved during the next round of collective bargaining, insists the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK.

This year there will be no national labour market pact, the unions will negotiate individually their own collective agreements. A large number of collective agreements will be negotiated this autumn.

However, SAK have prepared qualitative goals for the collective agreements. SAK published these in August. The goals are common for all the SAK member unions, but the unions are free to adopt various methods to work towards reaching them.

JHL (16.08.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) Trade unions representing the municipal sector are seeking a significant pay rise in the next round of collective bargaining.

"The public sector has already done its part in the wake of massive cuts", the unions say in their joint statement. "An unfair cut in the holiday bonus was forced on the public sector as part of the national labour pact."

The unions are standing firm and and say the incomes of public sector employees cannot be frozen. Strengthening domestic demand will strengthen employment.

JHL (11.08.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) JHL President Päivi Niemi-Laine says that the Government should abandon its unilateral decision to reform the Working Hours Act. The proposal was presented before the trilateral working group, and all labour market organisations agreed that the proposal was not feasible.

- All labour market parties have voiced their dissent towards the proposal, Niemi-Laine says. Both trade union confederations and the employers' federation expressed their doubts in respect of the proposal.

Nonetheless, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment decided to forge ahead with the drafting of a proposal, even though it is formed on a basis that has been widely criticised.

The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL do not accept that employees should be the ones who should have to pay the price of the planned flexibility in working hours.

Helsinki (10.08.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) Trade Union Pro is building a new comprehensive employment service for all of its members. Union members will soon get a message concerning vacancies via their mobile phone.

The service includes a broad package of job seeking service, a search for vacancies and personal guidance and training. The service is free for all Union members and will begin this year.

Trade Union Pro already has a web page which highlights vacancies in the fields the Union is working. On the web page it is possible to search for a job according to region or profession.

Trade Union Pro has 115,000 members and is the largest private sector union for clerical employees.

Helsinki (20.07.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) A total of 2,277 employees lost their jobs in Finland during the first half of this year.

The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK has been keeping track of the number of redundancies since 2006 and the figures for the first half of this year are lower than ever.

The previous record on low number of redundancies at a corresponding time was reached in 2007, when the figure was 3,448.

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."