JHL (08.12.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) Negotiations on collective agreements are now underway in almost all sectors. JHL is currently involved in collective bargaining with the municipal, energy and private social services sectors among others.

JHL, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors is involved in 55 national level collective agreements which cover various sectors and companies. There are also some 40 separate collective agreements for various public agencies which need to be negotiated.

The Union has a negotiating team of 35 people to carry out this immense task. The team includes 21 Bargaining Officers, three Work Environment Officers, as well as a Statistics Officer, a Vocational Officer, a Head of Services, four secretaries and two Heads of Bargaining.

The team leader is the Union President Päivi Niemi-Laine and her deputy is the Chief Executive Officer Håkan Ekström.

Helsinki (Heikki Jokinen - 06.12.2017) Finland celebrates its 100 years of independence on 6 December 2017. The country has moved a long way from being a poor agrarian country to a modern industrial welfare state. And the trade union movement has played a decisive role and been an integral part in bringing about this transformation.

The first trade unions were formed at the end of 19th century. The general strike in 1905 opened the way for democratic reforms in Finland, which at that time was an autonomous part of Russia.

The first trade union confederation was established in 1907. In that same year Finland experienced the most radical parliamentary reform of its time in the world: a new unicameral Parliament was elected by universal suffrage.

Women in Finland were granted full rights to vote and stand for elections, the first country in the world to enjoy what is now largely taken for granted in democratic countries. In the 1907 elections 19 members of Parliament out of 200 were women.

Helsinki (04.12.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) The amalgamated Industrial Union has held its first Congress setting out Union strategy and selected the new union leadership. Riku Aalto has been elected President.

The Industrial Union is a merger of three unions, the Industrial Union TEAM, the Woodworkers’ Union and the Finnish Industrial Union, the former Metal Workers' Union.

The Congress in Tampere 28-30 November was the first joint Congress and the new Union will begin its work officially from the beginning of 2018.

Helsinki (27.11.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) The Service Union United PAM - which widely represents the service sector - has been in negotiations on the collective agreement for ski resorts and activity programmes like reindeer, snowmobile and husky safaris. These are all major business concerns in northern Finland.

But the employers simply walked away from the negotiation table and announced a lockout for the branch from 8 - 19 December. The lockout, it should be noted, only affects PAM members.

PAM President Ann Selin cannot understand the actions of the hospitality industry employers' association MaRa. She had hoped negotiations would be conducted in a spirit of reasonableness, but the employers announced a lockout before negotiations on pay rises had hardly even begun.

Helsinki (26.11.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) Trade Union Pro has reached an agreement for clerical employees in the ICT-sector just before a strike planned to begin on Monday 27 November. The deal covers 12,000 employees working in the Information and Communication Technology sector.

The main reason for the dispute was the use of temporary rental labour.

Pro President Jorma Malinen says that rental labour is now used to replace staff and this is totally unacceptable. According to the collective agreement rental labour can only be used temporarily when there is a special need, Malinen makes clear.

"Within the branch there are more than one thousand rental labourers and at least one half of these have been working for more than two years. In no way can this be considered as temporary."

Helsinki (24.11.2017 - Heikki Jokinen). The Paper Workers' Union finally got a new collective agreement and the Finnish Electrical Workers' Union reached an agreement that ended their strike in the technology industry.

The Finnish Industrial Union reached a two year pay deal with a 3.2 per cent pay rise in the technology sector from the beginning of November. Several other collective agreements have now been now agreed offering a similar pay rise.

The negotiations in the paper industry were deadlocked and the situation tense after employers offered a zero pay rise. The Paper Workers' Union responded by imposing an overtime ban. As paper mills are run by a minimal staff, this was an effective way by which to make a point.

JHL (23.11.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) Cooperation among the five Nordic countries in many areas is a feature of life, and the same holds true for trade union work. A new step in this cooperation occurred when JHL Bargaining Officer Veikko Lehtonen took up part time work at the Norwegian union Fagforbundet in Oslo in November.

Lehtonen’s work at Fagforbundet is to focus on the terms of employment for personal assistants.

– My task is to think how we can better organise personal assistants and improve their terms of employment. We are also comparing Norwegian and Finnish legislation, Lehtonen says.

JHL (21.11.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) Employees in the public sector are entitled to the same kind of pay rise as those working in industry, the JHL Union Council announced at its meeting in November.

The Union Council does not share the employers’ view that pay rises for those working in the public sector and in services financed through public spending should be extremely moderate in the ongoing collective bargaining round.

Now is the time to address the issue of purchasing power and positive development of income for those working in the public sector.

Helsinki (16.11.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) The Union Council of Tehy - The Union of Health and Social Care Professionals in Finland has elected Millariikka Rytkönen as the new Union President. The term of a President is for four years.

Rytkönen is known as an active participant in discussions in the social media. As new President she promises to bring more visibility to Tehy in the public debate.

"One should not to stay on the edge of the pool moisturising toes, one must dive straight into the social debate", she told the Tehy magazine.

Helsinki (02.11.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) The Finnish Electrical Workers' Union called a targeted strike on Tuesday 1 November.

It covers 1,000 members of the Union working in 16 major export companies that are members of the Technology Industries of Finland. The strike will last until 8 November. One part of the strike is the overtime ban involving all electrical workers.

According to the Electrical Workers' Union the reason for the strike is that the Technology Industries of Finland refused to negotiate on a continuation of the existing electrical workers' collective agreement once its expires at the end of October.