Helsinki (11.11.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) Wednesday 10 November is the day the Finnish Tax Administration publishes all tax data from the year 2020. Each year this is a memorable event. The Finnish media was soon full of information on the incomes of top earners; business people, sportsmen, artists and even the most famous prisoners.

In Finland, detailed tax data is made public by law. Everyone has the right to know and see the income earned and tax paid by their fellow citizens. This openness is widely seen as a fundamental part of a democratic society.

It reveals what kind of work is rewarded, what is happening in business right now, and naturally, knowledge of income provides a background for discussion on equality in working life.

Helsinki (26.10.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) Employers are finally willing to proceed with negotiations for a new collective agreement for the technology industry.

They have furnished the Industrial Union with a list of companies that are ready to join the national level collective agreement. The union believes this list to be so comprehensive that the collective agreement will become generally binding. Now, the work can begin.

Riku Aalto, president of the Industrial Union says in his blog on the union web page that normally by this time in autumn most of the issues in the collective agreement are already negotiated.

Helsinki (21.10.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) The keys to opening up collective bargaining for the technology industry are now in the employers hands, says the Industrial Union. The existing national generally binding collective agreement runs out at the end of November.

The process of negotiations has changed since the former agreement partner Technology Industries of Finland decided in March 2021 to pull out of all collective bargaining. They established a new association, the Technology Industry Employers of Finland, to negotiate on behalf of those companies that are willingly to join it.

Negotiations should be going on now as time is running out. Yet in spite of that the new employers' association moves very slowly. It does not even tell which companies have joined it and will accept new members next time at the end of October.

Helsinki (01.10.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) In September, the Metsä Group announced it would not abide by the court ruling in a case concerning terms of employment.

Needless to say, the unions were totally flabbergasted by this. In Finland, court decisions are sacrosanct and up until now have always been obeyed, both by unions and employers.

The background to the dispute is the infamous deal in 2016, when PM Juha Sipilä’s right-wing Government forced almost all trade unions to accept 24 unpaid annual extra working hours in their collective agreements.

Helsinki (15.09.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) Journalists from Afghanistan have arrived safely in Finland, say the Union of Journalists in Finland UJF. The Union accommodates them with their family members temporarily in flats the union owns.

For security reasons, the Union cannot disclose yet how many people have arrived and how they got to Finland.

"Afghan journalists and fixers have been helping Finns to get information from the region. Now it is our turn to help", said UJF President Hanne Aho in a press release in September.

Helsinki (01.09.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) The Finnish forestry giant UPM says it is ready to organise terms of work in Finland without any collective agreement altogether after the existing agreements expire. The Paper Workers' Union is willing to negotiate at company level, but UPM refuses to consider the possibility.

In October last year, the forest industry employers' association decided that it would pull out of national level collective agreements. All collective agreements should be made at company level. The existing national agreements expire at the end of 2021.

On 10 August, the Paper Workers' Union announced that collective bargaining is going on in companies that cover 70 per cent of the employees of the existing paper workers' collective agreement.

Helsinki (31.08.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) The share of people under the poverty line drops when trade union density grows. The work and efforts of the trade union movement narrows income differences. And the coverage and extensiveness of the collective agreements has an even stronger impact in levelling income differences than the organising level of employees.

These are some of the findings of Ari-Matti Näätänen, a doctoral student, summarised in a new report on trade union movement impact on income differences and competitiveness in OECD countries.

The report was commissioned by STTK, the Finnish Confederation of Professionals.

Helsinki (24.08.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) A turbulent labour market autumn lies ahead for Finland due to the new confused situation in the technology and forest industries. In October 2020, the forest industry employers declared they would no longer take part in collective bargaining.

In March 2021, the Technology Industries of Finland announced that it was also directly pulling out of national collective bargaining. Instead, it did establish a new association, which should henceforth handle all matters connected to collective bargaining. It is up to individual companies whether they want to join it or not.

This offensive against comprehensive collective bargaining demands a determined response from the trade unions. The new collective agreements should be negotiated this year. Now unions are preparing ways to answer the attack and guarantee decent terms of work that will cover all employees, as has been the case so far.

Tekijä (14.07.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) In 1917, the Finnish Parliament made a historic decision: daily working hours were limited to eight hours a day, and a maximum of 47 hours a week. Working on Sundays now offered better pay. The law was the goal of the labour movement and passed due to a general strike in November 1917.

In 2021, the law is still basically the same. Except that now the legal maximum weekly working time is 40 hours since we introduced free Saturdays from the mid 1960's on.

So why do most of us work less than 40 hours a week? The answer is collective bargaining. The law sets the limit, but with collective agreements it is possible to make better deals for employees.

This is the essence of collective bargaining and for this reason some hard-line employers want to scrap the system. They dream of making the law a directive for terms of work, at least for those without strong negotiation power.

Helsinki (29.06.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) Akava will cease its involvement in the Labour Institute for Economic Research PT and focus on its own research, done by their think-tank Akava Works.

Akava, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland is one of the three trade union confederations in Finland. Since 1993, all three - together with several trade unions - have been members of the support association of the Labour Institute for Economic Research PT.

The Institute’s roots go back to 1951 when the People’s Market Research Institute started as the first research institute of the Finnish labour movement. Since 1974, after some reorganising, the Institute has been an independent body supported by an association with several member organisations.