Helsinki (12.08.2022 - Heikki Jokinen) The summer holiday season is coming to a close in Finland. People return to work and schools have already started. At the same time the debate on the next round of collective agreements has got underway.

Minister of Finance, Chairperson of the Centre Party Annika Saarikko said in the beginning of August that she would be ready to consider income tax cuts if pay rises in new collective agreements are "moderate". This means a pay rise below the level of inflation, which is predicted to be three per cent next year.

Saarikko's proposal is nothing surprising. Tax cuts are usually the first - and often only - cure the right-wing parties offer up for any situation or problem. It is also convenient for companies, as it partly finances pay rises from public money instead of company profits.

Helsinki (05.08.2022 - Heikki Jokinen) Workplaces are rapidly becoming more multicultural even here in Finland. As this is a new situation in many places, problems may arise. However, quite often this is down to a lack of skills and experience on how to get along with people from other backgrounds.

In 2021, out of Finland's total population, 470,000 people had a foreign background. That makes 8.5 per cent of the population. In working life, the share of people with a foreign background is even higher as there are less retired people from this group than in the whole population.

STTK, the Finnish Confederation of Professionals, opened this summer a dedicated website on how to improve fruitful work and activities in multicultural workplaces. The target groups are in particular supervisors and shop stewards, but also people in the workplaces in general.

Helsinki (27.06.2022 - Heikki Jokinen) Lawyer Anu Sajavaara will take up her position as the new National Conciliator on 6 August. The Finnish Government appointed her on 22 June.

The task of the National Conciliator is to assist the negotiating partners in the conciliation of labour disputes if a collective agreement cannot be reached without outside help. The arbitration system is based on the Act on Mediation in Labour Disputes.

Sajavaara is working as the Negotiations Director for labour market issues at Palta, the Service Sector Employers. She has had a many-sided career in public administration, the European Union, Jyväskylä University and various employers' associations.

Helsinki (21.06.2022 - Heikki Jokinen) Sture Fjäder will resign his position as President of Akava this autumn, much earlier than expected. His term was due to end in Spring 2024. Fjäder's announcement comes amid reports by Finnish media that there was a secret written and signed deal requiring Fjäder to step down this autumn. This deal was not disclosed at the time.

Fjäder has been leading Akava, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland, since 2011. He was re-elected President on 25 August 2020. He received 578 votes against 292 votes for Maria Teikari, the Service Director at the Social Science Professionals YKA, one of the Akava member unions.

Only a short time after that, on 9 September 2020 Fjäder signed a deal saying that he would vacate the presidency in Autumn 2022. The other three signatories to this arrangement were the leaders of three major Akava Unions.