Helsinki (08.04.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) Finland will elect a new Parliament on Sunday 14 April. The campaign Nation of the Free is striving to get labour market issues onto the electoral agenda.

The campaign Vapaiden valtakunta (Nation of the Free) was initiated by young trade union activists last autumn. The main idea is to ask all candidates standing for Parliament to what extent they agree with the values of the campaign.

Another important task they have taken upon themselves is to motivate people to vote. The campaign is not providing financial assistance or support to any individual candidate or any single political party.

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.