Helsinki (23.02.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) Collective bargaining in the retail and facilities service sector has yielded no results so far. The main stumbling block is the pay rise question.

With negotiations deadlocked the Service Union United PAM has now initiated an overtime ban and a ban on accumulating a positive flextime balance in the retail sector. There are some 250,000 employees in this sector.

On Thursday 22 February PAM the Executive Committee decided to go back to the bargaining table and resume negotiations, set to begin again on Monday 26 February.

JHL (20.02.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) JHL has threatened industrial action in three sectors where the collective bargaining process is deadlocked.

There are several unions behind these possible industrial actions, The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL is not acting alone.

One of these warnings would lead to a one day strike at the University of Helsinki on 28 February.

According to the unions the negotiations are deadlocked because the Finnish universities are being intransigent in their wish to dictate salaries and are unwilling to negotiate on terms of work to develop working life.

Helsinki (15.02.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) Collective agreements for the public sector are beginning to take shape. The solution to breaking the deadlock in negotiations was to come up with a novel one-off payment for employees to compensate for the lost holiday bonus.

The main issue that stalled all municipal and state sector negotiations was the unions demand for compensation for the 30 per cent holiday bonus cut, which was put in place for three years at the insistence of the Finnish Government.

The new one-off, lump sum payment was introduced first in the main municipal agreement, covering some 421,000 employees. In January 2019 the municipal employees will receive  a payment of 9.2 per cent of their monthly salary.

On average this will amount to 260 euro per person.

Helsinki (08.02.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) A large number of public sector collective agreements expired at the end of January. Negotiations are now ongoing and some forms of industrial action are already taking place.

JHL, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors this week introduced a ban on overtime and shift swap in the energy sector, municipalities, rail traffic, private social services and private education and vocational education and training.

Tehy, the Union of Health and Social Care Professionals in Finland announced in conjunction with the Finnish Union of Practical Nurses, SuPer, similar action in municipal health care. This covers around 130,000 health care employees.

Helsinki (07.02.2018 – Heikki Jokinen) The number of redundancies in the private sector was at a record low in the year 2017.  A total of 3,276 employees lost their job last year, compared to 10,874 in 2016.

The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK has been keeping track of the number of redundancies since 2007 and the figures for the year 2017 are lower than ever.

The figures reflect the upswing in the Finnish economy, says Hannu Jouhki, Director of SAK Growth and Advocacy department.

JHL (02.02.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) Finland needs a clear action programme and proper financing in order for it to promote equal pay, says JHL, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors. It would also be good to consider promoting equal pay by legislation, following Iceland’s example.

These and other measures to promote equal pay appear in the JHL statement on the progress report concerning the Government Action Plan for Gender Equality 2016–2019.

The Union has put forward several proposal measures. One is that shop stewards should have broader access to payroll data than they have at present.This would help clarify what progress is being made in respect of equal pay.

Helsinki (01.02.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) A number of leading trade unions have organised a political strike on Friday February 2 against the Government’s new legislation aimed at cutting unemployment security.

The new legislation stipulates that an unemployed job-seeker may forfeit 4.65 percent of his or her benefit if they are deemed to be less than active in their search for employment.

And what it means to be ‘active’ in terms of looking for work is to be clearly regulated. The job-seeker must either find employment for 18 hours in a three month period, receive entrepreneurial income of at least 241 euro or participate in a five day training course or be available for other services offered by the employment offices.

From the outset the trade union movement has opposed the model chosen by the Government. The Unions see it simply as a cut in unemployment security.

JHL (26.01.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) From the beginning of the year 2018 the unemployed can expect to see their benefits cut unless they are actively engaged in seeking a job. The new model was pushed through by the Finnish Government in spite of strong opposition from the trade unions.

JHL is now ready to act against the new legislation and supports the demonstration taking place in Helsinki on February 2, which is being organised by the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK and several trade unions.

According to the new legislation an unemployed job-seeker can lose 4.65 percent of his or her benefit if they are deemed to be less than active enough in their search for employment.

Helsinki (25.01.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) The new legislation to cut unemployment security has been met with broad and strenuous opposition from trade unions. In February the unions will organise a major demonstration against the law in Helsinki.

From the beginning of the year 2018 unemployed people must report their progress in job-seeking to the unemployment fund or the Social Insurance Institution (Kela) quarterly. These can then consider whether they have been active enough in finding employment or not.

Should they decide someone has not done enough to seek out employment, the benefit will be cut by 4.65 percent for the next three months. The cut is approximately one day's benefit per month.

There will be no cut if an unemployed job-seeker has, during any three month period of unemployment, managed to find employment for at least 18 hours, earn a minimum of 241 euro as an entrepreneur or participate for five days in certain services offered by the employment offices.

Helsinki (28.12.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) Cooperative Mediakunta received 50,000 euro from the Google fund to develop its business model for the billing work for freelance journalists and media professionals.

The Union of Journalists in Finland set up the cooperative Mediakunta in January 2017 to help its members who are working on a gig-basis. The cooperative takes care of billing, pays taxes and other statutory contributions.

The idea was to allow Union members to fully focus on what they do best, journalism and media work.

So far some 150 Union members have joined the cooperative. Among them are both full time freelancers and those who are employed somewhere else, unemployed or retired and doing some occasional gig work.