Helsinki (7.6.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) The Union Congress of the Service Union United PAM (4 - 6 June) unanimously elected Annika Rönni-Sällinen as its new President. Ann Selin, PAM President since 2002, had already made it clear one year ago that she would not be running for re-election.
Rönni-Sällinen (born 1976) is a lawyer and has had long and considerable experience working with the trade unions. Prior to this she had been working as a Director for the Law and Environment Department at the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK. PAM is a member union of SAK.
She has also been working since 2002 in various posts at PAM’s central office, as Bargaining Manager among other things.
There were originally six candidates but once the major Social Democratic group decided to support Rönni-Sällinen the elections were unanimous.
"I do not want service sector employees to work in future on minimum wages without collective agreements and without the security that the joint guarding of interest entails. I wanted to become PAM’s President, because I want to enhance justice and defend the weak in society”, Rönni-Sällinen said last autumn when she declared her candidacy.
Employees need a collective voice
The outgoing President Ann Selin said in her farewell speech she is proud of many things PAM has achieved.
"Already in the early 2000’s, we were the first union that managed to negotiate paid paternity leave locally. It was included in the facility services' collective agreement. From there, it spread to other collective agreements, both in PAM and in other unions."
Ann Selin has been a high profile trade unionist and thus well known as the PAM President in Finland. "It has happened sometimes that I have been mistakenly referred to as Pam Selin."
Selin also reflected on the ongoing discussion seeking to reduce the influence and power of the trade union movement. "Exactly from whom then is it desirable to have power reduced from?"
"It would be a little less easy for many to say that they want the voice of the employees, wage earners, to be completely silenced. For that very purpose, the trade union movement has influence. So that employees have a voice. Employees need a collective voice, because a single voice is often scarcely heard, if at all."
Selin summed up her experience by saying that it is important to remember that failure is not the opposite of success, it is despondence. "If you fail, you can learn and try again. If you become despondent, the game is more or less over. So let's not give up."
Ann Selin will continue to carry out special tasks at PAM and told the Congress that a publishing house has asked her to publish an autobiography - which she agreed to. She was the President of the UNI Global Union in 2014 - 2018.
Service Union United PAM is a trade union for those working in private service sectors. PAM has 217,000 members and 76 per cent of them are women. The majority of PAM’s members work in retail trade, property services, security services as well as tourism, restaurant and leisure services.
Ann Selin elected UNI Global Union president (16.12.2014)