Helsinki (07.02.2018 – Heikki Jokinen) The number of redundancies in the private sector was at a record low in the year 2017.  A total of 3,276 employees lost their job last year, compared to 10,874 in 2016.

The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK has been keeping track of the number of redundancies since 2007 and the figures for the year 2017 are lower than ever.

The figures reflect the upswing in the Finnish economy, says Hannu Jouhki, Director of SAK Growth and Advocacy department.

JHL (02.02.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) Finland needs a clear action programme and proper financing in order for it to promote equal pay, says JHL, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors. It would also be good to consider promoting equal pay by legislation, following Iceland’s example.

These and other measures to promote equal pay appear in the JHL statement on the progress report concerning the Government Action Plan for Gender Equality 2016–2019.

The Union has put forward several proposal measures. One is that shop stewards should have broader access to payroll data than they have at present.This would help clarify what progress is being made in respect of equal pay.

Helsinki (01.02.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) A number of leading trade unions have organised a political strike on Friday February 2 against the Government’s new legislation aimed at cutting unemployment security.

The new legislation stipulates that an unemployed job-seeker may forfeit 4.65 percent of his or her benefit if they are deemed to be less than active in their search for employment.

And what it means to be ‘active’ in terms of looking for work is to be clearly regulated. The job-seeker must either find employment for 18 hours in a three month period, receive entrepreneurial income of at least 241 euro or participate in a five day training course or be available for other services offered by the employment offices.

From the outset the trade union movement has opposed the model chosen by the Government. The Unions see it simply as a cut in unemployment security.

JHL (26.01.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) From the beginning of the year 2018 the unemployed can expect to see their benefits cut unless they are actively engaged in seeking a job. The new model was pushed through by the Finnish Government in spite of strong opposition from the trade unions.

JHL is now ready to act against the new legislation and supports the demonstration taking place in Helsinki on February 2, which is being organised by the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK and several trade unions.

According to the new legislation an unemployed job-seeker can lose 4.65 percent of his or her benefit if they are deemed to be less than active enough in their search for employment.

Helsinki (25.01.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) The new legislation to cut unemployment security has been met with broad and strenuous opposition from trade unions. In February the unions will organise a major demonstration against the law in Helsinki.

From the beginning of the year 2018 unemployed people must report their progress in job-seeking to the unemployment fund or the Social Insurance Institution (Kela) quarterly. These can then consider whether they have been active enough in finding employment or not.

Should they decide someone has not done enough to seek out employment, the benefit will be cut by 4.65 percent for the next three months. The cut is approximately one day's benefit per month.

There will be no cut if an unemployed job-seeker has, during any three month period of unemployment, managed to find employment for at least 18 hours, earn a minimum of 241 euro as an entrepreneur or participate for five days in certain services offered by the employment offices.

Helsinki (28.12.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) Cooperative Mediakunta received 50,000 euro from the Google fund to develop its business model for the billing work for freelance journalists and media professionals.

The Union of Journalists in Finland set up the cooperative Mediakunta in January 2017 to help its members who are working on a gig-basis. The cooperative takes care of billing, pays taxes and other statutory contributions.

The idea was to allow Union members to fully focus on what they do best, journalism and media work.

So far some 150 Union members have joined the cooperative. Among them are both full time freelancers and those who are employed somewhere else, unemployed or retired and doing some occasional gig work.

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.