Helsinki (21.01.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) Two Finnish trade union confederations SAK and STTK view the EU Commission proposal for a minimum wage positively and support its objectives. The federations issued a joint statement on this in December.

They attach much importance to the fact that the draft directive is strongly based on the promotion of collective bargaining. The federations place great value on promoting a system based on sectoral collective agreements in the member states as a key element in the proposal. This resembles the Finnish labour market model, too.

"The directive must support an increase in the minimum wage, especially in low-wage EU countries, and the best way to do this is through collective bargaining", the federations say. A comprehensive collective bargaining system is the wage and salary earners' best friend, experience has shown.

Helsinki (17.12.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) The Finnish Government proposes to amend the law to oblige employers to pay compensation to employees for all non-compete clauses in their employment contracts. Trade unions have long drawn attention to the fact that the existing law is unfair and has led to a fast and wildly growing number of such clauses.

At the moment, it is legal, under certain conditions and for a maximum of half a year, to limit an employee’s right to take a new job in the same trade or start up their own business in the same business area of their former employer.

The core of the problem is that - for up to six months - this kind of ban costs the employer nothing. The use of non-compete clauses has been extended to many professions where there are no real grounds for it at all.

Helsinki (01.12.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) The Finnish forest industry decision to unilaterally terminate national level collective bargaining is clearly a risk for companies in that sector and a leap into unchartered waters, says Jarkko Eloranta, President of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK.

"The impacts of the forest industry’s decision are significant, the risks are considerable and mostly unknown as of yet. Companies don’t generally invite risk and unpredictability - they prefer control and predictability", Eloranta told the SAK Delegate Council meeting in November.

"And a functioning national collective bargaining system can deliver this. It does not offer clear victory for either side but it promises constant and predictable results that serve to build the economy and labour market."

15.11.2020 - (Heikki Jokinen) On Friday 13 November, the trade union Pro representative body elected Jorma Malinen to remain in charge of the union for the period 2020 - 2024. He has been Pro President since 2014.

"Our most important product in the labour market and for our members is collective bargaining and advocacy. One could say that it is the justification for our existence", Malinen said in the meeting.

However, we are going through times when doubt is being sown about the legitimacy of comprehensive collective agreements, Malinen said. He takes the forest industry as a front-line example. The employer's Finnish Forest Industries Federation FFIF announced in October that it will no longer participate in any national level collective bargaining.