men's wages were 24 per cent higher than women's pay

men

FIM*/
hour

women


paper industry
rubber industry
chemical industry
metal industry
MEN'S AVERAGE

glass & ceramic industry
energy supply
graphical industry
food industry
wood industry
packaging industry
construction material industry






board&paper product industry
textile, garment, shoe & leather ind.


79.08
71.19
69.98
69.37
68.97
68.34
68.15
68.15
67.62
63.63
63.37
62.30
60.63
59.57
58.55
58.25
57.80
56.73
56.67
55.80
55.62
55.61
54.98
53.67
52.75
51.48
49.16
45.18







paper industry







packaging industry
rubber industry
wood industry
metal industry
graphical industry
glass & ceramic industry


WOMEN'S AVERAGE
food industry
energy supply
construction material industry
chemical industry
board&paper product industry
textile, garment, shoe & leather ind

1 FIM = 0.167 Euros
1 FIM = 0.171 USD (08.06.1999)

source: The Confederation of Finnish
Industry and Employers

Helsinki (01.05.1999 - Juhani Artto) One of the central elements in Finnish political organisation is tripartite co-operation between by the goverment, employer organisations and trade unions.

Like its predecessor, Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen's new coalition government has adopted tripartite co-operation as one of its principles. This was clearly reflected in the programme negotiations which took place before forming the government. Proposals made by the trade unions were taken seriously and several were included in the programme.

"Nowadays, the government programme has real significance. It lists the tasks to which the coalition is committed", says Kirsti Palanko-Laaka, a Department Head at SAK. As Finland's largest central trade union organisation, SAK listed its own goals for the government programme to be negotiated after the March 1999 parliamentary elections as long as one year in advance. Early this year SAK specified its objectives and compiled a document using the language of the future government's programme.

Helsinki (30.04.1999 - Juhani Artto) In March the Finnish people elected a new Parliament for four years. As in previous assemblies, trade unions are well represented in the new Parliament.

Of the 200 MPs, 118 are members of various trade unions. Akava, the smallest central trade union organisation which organises academically qualified staff, now has 63 MPs. The largest central trade union organisation SAK has 36, ten of whom are members of the Municipal Workers' Union. Nineteen MPs are members of STTK trade unions.

Despite the large number of union members in Parliament, there is no crossbench trade union lobby in the chamber. The ranks of union member MPs are divided in ideological and political directions in the same way as Parliament itself.

Helsinki (21.04.1999 - Juhani Artto) The personal computer hardware and software package negotiated last summer by the central organisation SAK on behalf of the 1.1 million members of its affiliated trade unions has sold well. Over a few months more than 12,000 union members took advantage of the offer. Most of these members (76 per cent) chose the leasing alternative, while the remainder bought the whole package outright.

The package consisted of a Pentium PC with all peripherals and programmes, an Internet connection and everything the ordinary union member's family needs at home.

Encouraged by the success of the initial package, SAK has negotiated a new, updated combination of hardware and software from its suppliers. Sources at SAK believe that several thousand families will seize this opportunity.

Helsinki (14.04.1999 - Juhani Artto) SAK, the largest central trade union in Finland, states that the problems of Kosovo can be solved only at the negotiation table. "President Slobodan Milosevic has to end the atrocities against the Albanian population and return to the negotiation table to relieve the crisis", SAK emphasises.

"Among the thousands of civilian victims are the trade union activists who have also suffered. The chairman of the Council of Kosovo's Independent Central Organisation of Trade Unions BSPK has been killed and the union's President has been arrested."

"The trade union movement also plays an important role in starting the extremely difficult peace process and reconstruction", SAK says.

Helsinki (07.04.1999 - Juhani Artto) In the Pakistani village of Pattal Munda 60 children have become schoolboys and girls. A school was recently inaugurated, co-financed by the Finnish trade unions. The goal is to complete in two years the course that normally takes five years in Pakistani state schools.

The pupils are 6-12 years of age. All study reading, writing, maths, religion, English and natural sciences. In the second year the older children will also take vocational subjects. At the request of the Finnish donors, half of the pupils are girls. Female enrolment in primary schools in Pakistan was only 45 per cent of male enrolment in 1990-1996.

In Pattan Mulan local trade union activists have played an important role in convincing the children's illiterate parents of the benefits of school education. More children applied to the school than could be admitted.

Helsinki (05.04.1999 - Juhani Artto) The risk of accidents in temporary work of less than six months is much higher than in permanent jobs, reveals a new study covering the situation in 1995-1996.

Risks in industry were 50 per cent higher and, in metal product production, as much as 75 per cent higher for temporary workers. In the service sector the risks involved in temporary and permanent jobs were approximately equal. When comparing all sectors of working life, the average risk difference was 30 per cent.

This statistical material shows that in temporary jobs the propensity to accident and vocational illness peaks some 12 weeks after beginning work.

Helsinki (13.03.1999 - Juhani Artto) "Before the August 1998 economic collapse the Russian trade union movement warned of the threat", said Yevgeni Makarov, president of the St. Petersburg and Leningrad region trade union federation, speaking on a recent visit to Finland as a guest of the three central trade union confederations SAK, STTK and Akava.

"What the government did was a bit like building a financial pyramid which was bound to collapse sooner or later. It financed its debt servicing by issuing more and more government bonds, but then on 18 August it suddenly stopped the spiral and announced its inability to manage the debt. The bond market stopped operating and is still out of service", Makarov explains.

The exchange rate of the rouble fell sharply. In three days the dollar became three times more expensive. As a result, prices of imported goods grew rapidly, causing a dramatic fall in the standard of living of workers.

In the St. Petersburg and Leningrad region 70 per cent of consumer goods are imported. "Over the last five years Russia has lost the ability to feed its population."

Murmansk (10.03.1999 - Juhani Artto) It is a mystery to many Finns that far to the north of the Arctic Circle there is a city of almost half a million people. For the Finns this means a fairly large city, as the population of Finland's capital Helsinki has only recently exceeded the half million mark.

Murmansk is by far the world's largest city to the north of the Arctic Circle. It is only 1,200 kilometres away the North Pole.

During the Soviet Era the existence of a large city far in the north was intelligible to foreigners as the federal government of this Superpower readily pumped money into its massive naval base in the neighbouring area of Severomorsk.

Nowadays, as the flow of federal cash has dried up and Russia's entire economy is in very poor shape, especially after the latest crisis cycle, the mystery of Murmansk is still more confusing than it was in earlier times.

Helsinki (24.02.1999 - Juhani Artto) A wide gulf exists between the social conditions of workers on either side of the Finnish-Russian border. The Finns enjoy the benefits of world-class enterprises while the Russians suffer from factory closures and other consequences of outmoded production facilities and the collapse of social structures.

The Finnish paperworkers are showing solidarity towards their Russian peers in this situation in many ways. While in earlier decades cross-border co-operation was mainly a matter of exchanging top-level delegations between Helsinki and Moscow, in the 1990s co-operation has taken another form.

This spring the Finns are showing their solidarity in a new way. The Paperworkers Union is financing and organising the distribution of basic foodstuffs to worker families in two towns, Läskelä and Suojärvi, where the forest industry factories closed down last year.