Helsinki (13.11.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) The strike at Posti, the government owned postal services company is set to escalate. The reason for this strike is the employer's decision to force some 700 Posti employees into another collective agreement.

The Finnish Post and Logistics Union PAU is determined to resist this move claiming that this would mean a serious cut in pay for their members. Negotiations failed to reach a mutually satisfactory outcome and so strike action commenced on Monday 11 November.

Now several other unions say that they are ready to support the strike with further strikes unless there is real progress this week in negotiations on a new collective agreement.

Helsinki (12.11.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) The Industrial Union says that it has decided to stop negotiations with regard to collective bargaining in the chemical sector.

The reason for this is that the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland demanded - as a part of the new collective agreement - to end the practise whereby the employer facilitates the paying of union dues when paying salaries. This practise has been in widespread use in Finland since the late 1960s.

The Union calls employers action flagrant and says it will not return to the negotiation table before the demand is withdrawn.

Helsinki (30.10.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) Several important collective agreements in the technology industry are nearing their expiry date at the end of October. Altogether these agreements cover 296,000 employees. In spite of the tight schedule no results are anywhere near in sight during this current round of collective bargaining.

As predicted, the most difficult question is the fate of the 24 unpaid annual extra working hours, forced on employees by the right-wing Government of PM Sipilä in 2016. The unions say this is something that must come to an end, while the employers are equally adamant that it should continue .

What makes the situation even more difficult is that the unpaid extra hours have been turned into practise in very different ways. In some cases these do not exist, or are used for well-being activities like voluntary motion. However, in many working places extra hours are firmly fixed in shift rosters.

Helsinki (23.10.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) Engineers have now been organised in Finland for one hundred years. The first association of engineers was established in Tampere in 1919. Now the Union of Professional Engineers in Finland IL celebrates its first centennial.

The 70,000 members are engineers, other technical experts and engineering students. IL is the second largest member union of Akava, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland. It joined Akava in 1976.

In this year of celebration the Union has organised more than forty events around the country. The main theme is Creating the future, complemented by five sub themes: Fall in love with an engineer, Becoming an engineer, Family and feelings, Challenge and the Wind of history.

Helsinki (10.10.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) Tehy and JHL, the unions in the field of health care and public services demand a targeted pay rise in the forthcoming collective bargaining round. This would to a large extent be a gender equality allowance as the workforce in these sectors is primarily made up of women.

In the last collective bargaining round the agreement for the technology industry gave a 3.2 per cent pay rise as part of a two year agreement. Due to the employers' strict coordination this become the basis for almost all collective agreements.

Tehy - The Union of Health and Social Care Professionals in Finland propose together with the Super - the Finnish Union of Practical Nurses a ten-year salary programme for health and social care professionals. It would offer an annual 1.8 percentage point higher pay rise as in the male-dominated technology industry sectors.

Helsinki (19.09.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) The plans for the next state budget seem to be a move in the right direction, but when it comes to the detail there are things that could be done better, say the three trade union confederations.

The results of PM Rinne’s Government planning session for the next state budget were published on 17 September.

SAK, the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions hails the decision to cancel the infamous activation model that punishes unemployed job-seekers, and which was designed and implemented by the previous right-wing Government.

Helsinki (13.09.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) In 2016, the three-year national Competitiveness Pact added 24 extra annual unpaid working hours for a majority of Finnish wage and salary earners. This has not had any positive effects at all on working places, quite the opposite according to a survey conducted by SAK, the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions.

A total of 84 per cent of those 894 SAK member unions' shop stewards and health and safety representatives who responded to the survey say the extension has had no effect on the hiring of new employees. But 16 per cent say that it has in fact been detrimental and lessened the number of new employees hired.

The national Competitiveness Pact was the brainchild and pet project of the then PM Juha Sipilä and his right-wing Government. It forced the unions to accept the extended working hours without pay. One of the Government’s motivations was to boost employment.

Helsinki (29.08.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) It is legal, under certain conditions and for a maximum of half a year, to limit an employee’s right to enter a new job in the same trade or start up their own business in the same business area of the former employer.

According to the trade unions this practice has been growing to a worrying extent.

Akava, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff conducted a survey among its members in 2017. Some 33 per cent from the 2 119 who replied had a non-compete clause in their employment contracts. Four per cent had a separate non-compete agreement.

Helsinki (14.08.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) The negotiation round for the new collective agreements will begin in the next few weeks. One of the first of those to negotiate is the Industrial Union.

In 2016, the Finnish economy was not in good shape. Most of the unions agreed to - under heavy pressure from the right-wing Government - to add the 24 extra annual working hours without a pay in their collective agreements.

This was a part of the three-year national Competitiveness Pact. Now unions say this was an exceptional measure and it is time to return to normality, and abandon the extra hours. Employers associations for their part say that the change is permanent.

Helsinki (05.08.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) Akava, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland will open its own office in Brussels. In 2016, Akava left the joint Brussels office Finunions of all three Finnish trade union confederations.

The new office will open its doors at the beginning of 2020. In the long run the goal is to build a joint advocacy concept with Akava's Nordic sister organisations, says Sture Fjäder, President of Akava.

"We do share very similar needs and goals concerning advocacy work. We seek to strengthen cooperation significantly in this endeavour", Fjäder adds.