Trade Union News from Finland
Helsinki (02.04.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) The fragmentation and precarisation of working life affects trade union membership, too. According to a new study union density has declined.
Seen globally, wage and salary earners are still joining trade unions in Finland, 59.4 per cent of those in working life were organised in 2017. However, in a previous similar study the figure in 2013 was 64.5 per cent.
The latest figure is based on statistical information up until the end of 2017 and comes from a study by Lasse Ahtiainen published by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. This is the seventh similar type study since 1989.
Helsinki (21.03.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) The Industrial Union has declared an unusual embargo on the Lapwall company. The reasons for this have their roots in the strike action that occurred last October.
The embargo is a legal measure which can be used when a company does not belong to the employers' association. If necessary, a union can recommend to its members not to apply for jobs in a particular company. The purpose is to get the company to the negotiation table and reach a deal on disputed issues.
The employment office must inform jobseekers about the industrial dispute, and they are not allowed to break the embargo by guiding jobseekers in the company. An unemployed jobseeker has a legal right to refuse a job in a company under embargo.
Helsinki (05.03.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) The tripartite working group was unable to agree on new rules for unemployed jobseekers. The group was working along the lines of a so called activation model two, the Government proposal on the additional criteria jobseekers must meet to get uncut unemployment benefit.
The right-wing Finnish Government introduced, at the beginning of 2018, the so called activation model whereby an unemployed jobseeker forfeits 4.65 percent of his or her benefit if they are deemed to be less than active in their search for employment.
The trade union movement vehemently opposed the legislation, claiming it was unfair and sought to penalise those who were unemployed. For many people it would not be even theoretically possible to meet the criteria, the unions asserted. These warnings were ignored and what was predicted would happen did happen with a large number of jobseekers seeing their benefits cut.
Helsinki (21.02.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) Debate in the Finnish Parliament on the citizens' initiative to stop the so called activation model took a peculiar turn. At the beginning of the debate on the initiative signed by 140,944 citizen not a single MP from the Government parties turned up.
The activation model is legislation that cuts unemployment benefits should an unemployed job-seeker not meet certain criteria like finding a temporarily job, having entrepreneurial income or participating in training. The legislation is widely viewed as unfair, as it is often not possible to meet the criteria in spite of actively trying to do so.
The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK carried out a survey last year and found that more than half of those receiving unemployment benefit from the SAK unions' funds have seen their benefits cut.
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