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Helsinki (15.01.2013 - Heikki Jokinen) The Union of Professional Engineers in Finland (UIL) are the latest union to join the group of union organizations that have agreed to sponsor Trade Union News from Finland, signing up at the beginning of the year. UIL organizes engineers and other technical experts. It has 70,000 rank and file members of whom 87 per cent work in the private sector. UIL belongs to Akava, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland.

"The most crucial issue for the union right now and that facing our members is the economic insecurity prevailing in Finland and Europe", says Ismo Kokko, the director of collective bargaining. "There has been an inevitable scaling back of the workforce - leading to more unemployment - as a result of the downturn. Export companies have been the first to feel this." A great number of UIL members are working in the export industry.

UIL has more than 20 collective agreements and a new round of collective bargaining to renew agreements begins in the spring. The current technology industry agreement is set to expire at the end of October and other agreements will follow suit, month by month.

UIL has close contacts with its Nordic (Scandinavian) sister unions. They are The Danish Society of Engineers IDA, The Norwegian Society of Graduate Technical and Scientific Professionals Tekna, The Norwegian Society of Engineers NITO, the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers and the Icelandic Society of Engineers.

Nording is a collaborative body of 11 engineering societies – made up of both trade unions and other organisations from within the Nordic countries, and UIL also works in close cooperation with these groups. Another Nordic field of cooperation is Nordic IN, a body of 20 Nordic industrial unions.

"Outside the Nordic countries there are many engineering societies, but they are not always working as trade unions. For example in Germany, collective bargaining is solely the preserve of IG Metall, and does not involve the engineering societies", Ismo Kokko says.

At the global level UIL is an affiliated member of the IndustriALL Global Union and UNI and at the European level it is an affiliated member of both their European organizations.