Trade Union News from Finland
Helsinki (26.08.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) The incumbent Akava President Sture Fjäder was re-elected for another four year term. He emerged successful in the Congress elections on 25 August with 578 votes against 292 votes for Maria Teikari.
Sture Fjäder (born 1958) has been the President of Akava, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff since 2011. Akava is one of the three Finnish trade union federations. At the beginning of this year, Akava had 36 member unions totalling 608,811 members.
In his speech to the Congress Fjäder made particular mention of how the Finnish labour market system was working well during the exceptional time of this coronavirus crisis.
Helsinki (21.08.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) Finland will intensify its battle to prevent the exploitation of foreign labour. A working group from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment published its proposal for new measures in this endeavour on 20 August. This received immediate support from the trade union movement.
The working group drafted 14 proposals for legislative measures, measures related to the guidance provided by the authorities, and measures designed to improve cooperation. There are also proposals for a more effective system of imposing sanctions on employers guilty of exploitation.
Further resources are to be made available to the authorities, also. Cooperation between the authorities is to be enhanced by improving the exchange of information and the use of surveillance and other data, the working group advises.
Helsinki (13.08.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) In June, a debate on earnings-related unemployment security got underway in Finland. Some right-wing politicians and the employers' federation EK proposed closing down the existing unemployment funds and starting up a new state institution to distribute benefits to everyone under uniform rules.
As things now stand, membership of any of the 24 wage and salary earners unemployment funds confers the right to a higher, earnings-related unemployment benefit.
All but one of these funds works in connection with the trade unions. However, a fund member need not necessarily be a union member and the funds are administered independently.
In August, the Board of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK said it welcomes the discussion on earnings-related unemployment. Earlier this summer, however, the case being put forward by the employers federation and some politicians was perceived as being just and fair, but without defining precisely how this was to be carried out in practise.
Helsinki (30.07.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) The Confederation of Finnish Industries EK suddenly reversed its position on the issue of earnings-related unemployment benefits. Up until now it has supported the existing system whereby the benefits are paid through the unemployment funds. Since the year 1895, these funds have been mainly administered by the trade unions.
In July, the main lobby organisation of the Finnish business EK said it will support the proposals to establish a single state fund for unemployment benefits. This would make the existing 24 wage and salary earners unemployment funds redundant.
According to EK, this would extend the earnings-related benefits to everyone, as now these are paid only for those who are members of the unemployment funds. As things now stand those people who are not members of unemployment get lower benefits.
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