JHL (01.12.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) The main goal of JHL in the year 2017 is to guarantee the Union’s ability to carry out its basic tasks effectively, the Union Council decided at its November meeting.

New projects which require major resources are to be scrapped. But existing projects will continue at full steam and the lessons learned from these will be incorporated into essential Union work. 

The reason for this decision is the forthcoming major reform of social welfare and health care services. These services will be transferred from municipalities to the 18 soon to be established autonomous regions. More than 200,000 people will have a new employer by the beginning of 2019.

This process will affect a large number of JHL members. New social welfare and health care structures and employers demand a new kind of action and organising of the Union.

Helsinki (30.11.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) Plans to remodel the Finnish collective bargaining system are still on the table. The basic idea is for pay rises in collective agreements to be linked somehow to those for the export industry.

In March 2016 the Finnish Government approached the labour market confederations with a proposal to reform the way collective bargaining is negotiated in the future. The Government wanted trade unions and employer associations to negotiate collective bargaining separately in each sector, but with a ceiling on pay increases.

This ceiling would be the pay rise negotiated by the export industry unions and employers' associations. Other sectors would remain free to make their own collective agreements but with the proviso that they could not agree on bigger pay rises than that for the export sector.

JHL (18.11.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) JHL came out strongly against proposals to create a low paid work market in Finland. This has been proposed by some politicians and business leaders recently as a way to improve the Finnish economy and create more jobs.

"Low pay will not improve Finnish competitiveness, productivity or employees’ motivation", JHL Council warned at its meeting on 17 November.

JHL Council proposes that the trade union federations begin, as soon as possible, to draft a programme on pay policy and get the Finnish Government on board to support it with its own measures.

Helsinki (14.11.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) It was agreed earlier this year under the national Competitiveness Pact that annual working time would be extended by 24 hours while pay should remain the same.

The pact covers some 90 per cent of Finnish wage and salary earners. Putting the pact into the practise at company level has not been an easy task and it seems quite a few companies do not need their employees to work more than before.

Turja Lehtonen, the Union Secretary of the Finnish Metalworkers' Union says in the newspaper Kansan Uutiset that at company level negotiations aimed at applying the national pact there have been several instances where working hours were not extended.

Helsinki (27.10.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) A majority of Finns would be ready to disclose wages and salaries in order to advance gender equality. In accordance with Finnish legislation individual salaries are not made public.

The figure is from a survey commissioned by the Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK.

Of those asked in the survey, 58 per cent said they would be ready to remove confidentiality on salaries for the sake of gender equality. Women (64 per cent) were more ready for this than men (51 per cent).

JHL (27.10.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) More than one hundred Finnish municipalities have been taking back some of their outsourced services, according to the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL. Finland has 313 municipalities.
The main reasons for cancelling contracts have been due to problems with quality and price.

This information is based on a survey done by the public pension institution Keva and can be found in a letter JHL sent in October to some 7,500 members and deputy members of municipal councils. The letter is sent four times a year.

The municipal council is the highest decision making body of local governments and is elected by secret ballot for a four year term. The number of councillors vary from 17 to 85 depending on the number of inhabitants in each municipality.

Helsinki (21.10.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) The number of people under threat of redundancy in Finland during the third quarter of the year was 11,849. And this is lower than it has been in the last five years.

These numbers are from statistics compiled by the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK. The figures show the number of employees who have had to go through the mandatory consultation process with regard to possible personnel cuts.

The Act of Cooperation stipulates that in all undertakings with more than 20 employees, any planned redundancies are subject to mandatory consultation with personnel representatives. The final number of redundancies in such cases invariably remains open.

The statistics are based on information made publicly available and do not include the municipal sector. This means that in real terms the actual figures are even greater still.

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.