Labour costs per employee vary from 25 000 to 81 000 per annum
Helsinki (23.07.2013 – Juhani Artto) Outotec tops the list when it comes
costs per employee in Finnish companies in 2012. The list, published
recently by the economics weekly Talouselämä (issue 20/2013), comprises
figures from the hundred largest Finnish employers (not including public
employers). The minerals and metals processing company Outotec last year
paid out 81 373 euros per employee in direct and indirect labour costs.
The other end of the list comprises retailers and companies that offer
property maintenance services, such as cleaning. The lowest labour costs per
employee were for the property services companies Contineo
(24 823 euros) and Solemo (25 612 euros).
According to Statistics Finland, direct earnings made up approximately
60 per cent
and social security contributions almost 22 per cent of the total labour
2008. Since then the structure of the costs has not changed
Financial crisis 2007-2010:
Major Finnish multinationals continue to expand abroad
Helsinki (26.06.2013 - Timo-Erkki Heino) "Finnish multinational corporations
are export companies which carry out a major part of their activities in
Finland." - This is the perception many Finns have of Finnish
multinationals. The perception is outdated: in the case of eight major
multinational manufacturing companies only 25 per cent of their personnel
were in Finland in 2010 compared to 47 per cent in 2000, report Pekka
Sauramo and Ritva Oesch in their study recently published by the Labour
Institute for Economic Research.
Heikki Jokinen is the new
of Trade Union News from Finland
Helsinki (28.05.2013 -
Juhani Artto / Heikki Jokinen) The publisher of Trade
Union News from Finland is about to change. Heikki Jokinen will take over
responsibility for the publication as of the 29 May 2013. Jokinen steps in
for Juhani Artto who first established the newsletter in 1997 and has
acted as publisher ever since. Artto will continue to serve as
co-publisher up until the end of 2013, the post Jokinen has held from
"I am very pleased with this handover and feel safe in the knowledge that
this new arrangement will safeguard the continuity of the publication.
Also, the union organizations who are instrumental in making the publication
financially viable, have given their blessing to the new publisher", Artto
says. "Within Finnish working life and the trade union movement many things
happen that are good to know outside of Finland and among non-Finnish
speaking immigrant labour in Finland. Trade Union News from Finland has been
a tool for reporting these things."
Along with the new publisher the web address of Trade Union News from
Finland also changes. The new one is
FIOH's new survey:
working life in Finland has improved
Helsinki (21.05.2013 - Heikki Jokinen)
Working life in Finland has taken a turn for the better in the last
three years according to a general study on Finnish working life,
published a week ago by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
FIOH. The study is based on telephone interviews with some 3,000 people
and is conducted every three years. The good news is that
the employment rate of people over 55 years of age is now higher. People
are more willing to continue working longer, later in life. In 2006, 58
per cent of employed people aged at least 45 were considering continuing
work after they reached the lowest possible retirement age of 63, now
the percentage is 74. The number of
traditional occupational diseases has also been diminishing, except for
asbestosis. On the other hand there are now more allergies than before.
These are often connected with indoor air problems especially in
schools, hospitals and social services units.
is becoming a business
Helsinki (15.05.2013 - Heikki Jokinen)
Recent measures taken by Nokia have prompted many people to ask whether
it is using other companies to do its dirty work when it comes to firing
employees. "There is a pattern where employees are outsourced with some
part of the business to another company, which will then quickly fire
them on the grounds of re-organising production. One has to ask whether
redundancy has become a business", says Maria Löfgren, director of Akava,
the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff.
EU has to respect the freedom of collective bargaining
Helsinki (06.05.2013 - Juhani Artto) Experts from the three union
confederations in Finland (Akava, SAK, STTK) have delivered harsh criticism
to the European Union
for repeatedly breaching the freedom of collective bargaining. They refer to
recent cases where the European Commission has intervened in the bargaining
procedures in Romania, Greece, Spain, Ireland and Italy and weakened the
position of unions.
This criticism is included in a 26-page discussion paper published on 26
April by experts from the three confederations. The paper will be published
English at a later date. - Read more:
How do we get out of the eurocrisis?, discussion paper written by
experts of SAK, STTK, Akava, published on 28 November 2011
Unions offer helpline for summer workers
link to the web site of SAK)
A new study:
How agency labour became accepted practice
Helsinki (28.04.2013 - Heikki Jokinen) The hiring of temporary labour (agency labour) gained
acceptance and a sense of legitimacy back in the 1990’s when Finland was
going through a period of severe recession. This form of employment, which
had shown a marked increase at that point, was seen in the media first and
foremost as a solution to the problem of high unemployment. Changes in legislation
passed at that time also reflected changes in attitudes towards this type of
employment arrangement. At the same time temporary labour was understood as
something that only affected "marginal groups" like women and students, thus
posing no danger to the traditional often male-dominated work places.
SASK campaigns with
Amnesty Finland for trade union rights
Helsinki (23.04.2013 - Heikki
Jokinen) The Trade union solidarity centre of Finland SASK is campaigning
alongside the Finnish section of Amnesty International for trade union
rights. The new campaign got underway on Monday 22nd April and focuses on
the situation in Colombia. On the
campaign web pages
(in Finnish) there is an appeal to the Colombian president Juan Manuel
Santos. It implores the president to keep the promises of his government to
end anti-union violence and remove the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators.
Foreign owners make their
in the Finnish paper industry
Helsinki (18.04.2013 - Heikki Jokinen) Some 40
paper, paperboard and pulp factories in Finland are now owned by foreign
companies. The problems facing the traditionally strong Finnish paper
industry together with major investments by Finnish forest industry
companies abroad have provided an opening for new investors in Finland
itself. At the beginning of last
year these foreign owned companies employed 3.688 permanent workers and a
further 187 in temporary jobs. By the end of June 2012 the number of
permanent workers in the paper, paperboard and pulp industry in Finland was
14.210 with 3.236 temporary workers. Paperiliitto, the magazine
of the Finnish Paper Workers' Union, looked at changes on the floor level in
the foreign owned factories. The article is written by the Finnish
freelancer Matti Remes. The shop stewards interviewed reported no major conflicts, but
there are often differences in management culture.
Trade union confederations
critical of sizeable cut
in corporate tax rate
Helsinki (10.04.2013 – Heikki Jokinen, Juhani Artto) The coalition
government of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen has decided to cut the corporate
tax rate from the current 24.5 per cent to 20.0 per cent.
The three trade union confederations (Akava, SAK, STTK) are not
happy with the decision for a number of reasons.
First, the government plans to finance the cut partly by raising taxes
for ordinary citizens. This can only have a negative impact on the
purchasing power of wage and salary earners,
which in turn will inevitably affect economic growth prospects.
“Competitiveness of business enterprises is naturally important for growth
and employment but wage and salary earners and the entire society also
urgently need measures that serve to increase purchasing power”, said Sture
the President of Akava, in considering the government’s choices.
expects strong growth
Helsinki (26.03.2013 – Heikki Jokinen) The
mining industry is increasingly becoming an important sector of the Finnish
economy. This is felt also in the Metalworkers' Union where some 1,500
miners are organised. Last year the Association of the Finnish Extractive
Resources Industry (FinnMin) conducted a survey concerning future prospects
among 58 companies working in mining. Among the survey’s findings it is
estimated that within the next ten years, along with expansion, a total
number of 5,600 people will be employed in mining - an increase of 150 per
cent in comparison with the existing situation in the 48 companies that
replied to the survey.
SAK: "Santa Claus came early this year"
link to the web site of Yle News)
Employers block national deal on pay and conditions
link to the web site of SAK)
Production is returned back to Finland from Asia
Helsinki (13.03.2013 – Heikki Jokinen) Finland is
producing bicycles again. The traditional bicycle factory Helkama Velox
moved the production line of its Jopo bicycles back from Taiwan to Finland
in 2010. Since then the sale of Jopo bikes has doubled. About 24,000 bicycles will be manufactured this year, which
amounts to eight per cent of total annual bicycle sales in Finland. Many
components are still produced abroad, but more than 50 per cent is Finnish
work. The original Jopo first made its appearance in 1965 and continued in
production until 1974. With the retro boom in vogue Helkama began to make it
again in 2002 and moved production to Taiwan three years later. The return of the Jopo factory from Taiwan to the
small Finnish coastal town of Hanko is one part of the emerging reshoring,
the return of industrial production back to Europe and the USA. The
reasons behind this are usually diminished salary differences between
countries like Finland and China, greater flexibility and the need to be
closer to customers.
Trade unions reject a
new initiative to cut young people's pay
Helsinki (05.03.2013 - Heikki
Jokinen) The Prime Ministers' Office published last Friday a report
demanding more low-pay work in Finland. The report is drafted by Juhana
Vartiainen, the Director General of the Government Institute for Economic
Research and Osmo Soininvaara, the Green Party MP and one of the party’s
chief ideologists. They propose that those under 25 years should receive
salaries 20 per cent below what is set out in the collective agreements,
with the sweetener of a reduction in the tax rate for those affected. As one
might expect, the trade union reaction was swift. Timo Vallittu, the
President of the Industrial Union TEAM stresses that a cut in wages and
salaries for young people would automatically make them low paid and that
would inevitably set a trend in the labour market. Their parental benefits,
sickness allowance and pensions would also remain smaller, Vallittu adds.
The Electrical Workers'
Union discloses again
underpayment of foreign electricians
Helsinki (01.03.2013 - Heikki Jokinen)
Finnish Electrical Workers´ Union recently disclosed how Estonian electrical
workers were underpaid on a major construction site (car park P-Hämppi) in the city of Tampere.
After the visit of the union representatives some of the Estonian
electricians joined the union and asked for help. "There are many new
companies in this branch and it can happen that they just simply do not know
the rules. In most cases everything is ok", says ombudsman Jari Ollila in
Vasama, the magazine of the union. In this case in Tampere
the problems occurred with two subcontractors.
One is a member of the contractors' association and the problems with this
firm can be solved by negotiation. The other firm is registered in Estonia
and the union has not been able to make any real contact with it. For this
reason the union has declared a blockade against the company.
Violence is often present in
Helsinki (22.02.2013 - Heikki Jokinen) The
threat of violence is often present for those working in small shops and
kiosks. In 2012 a total of 312 robberies were reported to the police, and
the year before 332. Shoplifting is not classed
as a robbery, though such cases may also involve the threat of violence. In
2012 a total of 47,360 shoplifting cases were reported to the police,
several thousand less than the year before. Typical for robberies of
small shops and kiosks is that these incidents are not planned and the take
is often very meagre, a small amount of cash, beer or cigarettes. The
robbers usually wield a knife or hammer, but seldom brandish firearms. By
contrast robberies of jewellery and other luxury item shops are invariably
well planned and executed with firearms. The Service Union United
PAM is concerned about the situation. In autumn of last year the union
published an action plan called five steps for better security.
to get new benefits if they stay at home with the baby
Helsinki (14.02.2013 - Heikki
Jokinen) The law concerning paternity leave in Finland has been amended
since the beginning of the year, allowing the father to take longer paid
paternal leave. This is a part of the policy to divide childcare more
equally between parents and to encourage fathers to spend more time with
their new babies. Paternity leave is now 54 working days altogether,
approximately 9 weeks. According to Finland's social security provider Kela
the father can take 1-18 working days as paternity leave after the child is
Less sick leave with
Helsinki (08.02.2012 - Heikki Jokinen) Company
leadership has a major impact on the ability of employees to perform their
work, according to a recent study made by the Finnish Institute of
Occupational Health. Investing in good leadership could reduce accidents,
the amount of sick leave and general inability to work. The study is based
on information collected from 64 Finnish companies, which together employ
80,000 people. The material covers the years from 2008 to 2011. The cost of
work not done in these companies was on average 7.1 per cent of the salaries
paid, varying from 2 to 12 per cent depending on the company. The costs due
to sick leave and other similar expenses were on average 2,900 euro annually
A master at school
link to the web site of Pam Magazine)
German-style pay cuts tempt Finnish employers, fuels mistrust
(08.02.2013 - link to the web site of Nordic Labour Journal)
getting to grips with work-related
- Heikki Jokinen) In the
last few years Finland has been devoting more and more attention to human
trafficking cases. In 2004 the Finnish Penal Code was rewritten to include
human trafficking as a separate crime and in 2008 the government adopted a
Plan of Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. Since then, the courts
have handed down guilty verdicts in four cases with several other cases
Estonian Supreme Court: Equal wages for Estonians in Finland
(29.01.2013 - link to the web site of Yle News)
Chemical industry leads Finnish exports
(28.01.2013 - link to the web site of Yle News)
journalists and managers coped with unemployment during the economic
recession in Finland in 1990-1995
(25.01.2013 - link to the web site of University of Helsinki) Abstract of
Petteri Raito's thesis; Raito is the editor of Särmä, the magazine of the
Wood and Allied Workers' Union
Growing trend in 2012:
Almost 16,000 employees lost their jobs
Helsinki (24.01.2013 - Heikki Jokinen) The number of redundancies grew
by almost 50 per cent last year, according to statistics from the Central
Organisation of Finnish Trade
Unions SAK. The number of people who lost their jobs in 2012 was 15,800,
whereas the same figure in
2011 was 10,600. Last year's figure is the second highest recorded since
2006, the year in which SAK began collecting this information. In 2009 some
lost their jobs.
Last year the number of employees to get a taste of mandatory consultation
with regard to
possible personnel cuts was 104,000. In 2011 it was 56,000. The Act
of Co-operation stipulates that in all undertakings with more than 20
employees any planned redundancies are subject to mandatory consultation
Finnwatch reports on
serious abuses of labour in Thai food tuna and fruit production for
Helsinki (21.01.2013 - Juhani Artto) The Finnish watchdog Finnwatch has
uncovered serious cases of human and labour rights abuse at three Thai
companies supplying tuna and fruits to the Finnish and European markets.
Thanks to information furnished by factory workers in Thailand Finnwatch
was able to expose the use of both forced labour and child labour. The
companies involved pay illegally low wages and make employees work
excessive overtime hours. - Read the English language summary
(13-page pdf-file) of the report and the two Finnwatch press releases
on the report:
Finnwatch reveals serious human rights violations behind European food
The Union of Professional Engineers
has begun to cooperate
with Trade Union
Helsinki (15.01.2013 - Heikki Jokinen) The Union of Professional
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
of whom 87 per cent work in the private sector. UIL belongs to Akava,
Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in
"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.
Union confederations SAK
and STTK seek a way towards growth
Helsinki (09.01.2013 - Heikki Jokinen)
The trade union confederations SAK and STTK have published their own
programme for economic growth. "High salaries are not the reason for
problems in the Finnish economy, there are other reasons behind it", is
how SAK president Lauri Lyly views the situation. Lyly and STTK president Mikko
Mäenpää see the real problems afflicting the Finnish economy lie in the
too low value of added production. The key sectors of our economy,
namely the paper and electronics industry have concentrated far too much
and for far too long in bulk products. The solutions offered by the
confederations are aimed at guaranteeing a high level of education,
building and maintenance of a working infrastructure and supporting new
confederation EK elects new leaders
and adopts a hard line
Helsinki (04.01.2013 - Heikki Jokinen) Relations between trade unions
and the employers' confederation are exceptionally tense at the moment in
Finland. This friction between the two parties had already become evident in
September. Then the board of the
Confederation of Finnish Industries EK did not accept an agreement which its
negotiated with trade union confederations concerning legislation to
employees three days professional education a year.
Only one in six support the idea of raising the
Helsinki (29.12.2012 - Juhani Artto) The employer stronghold EK urges
retirement age be raised but a large majority of citizens oppose EK's
proposals on the matter in question. Once again this has been confirmed
by the results of the
Yle published on Wednesday.
According to the poll, only 16 per cent of Finns support the idea of
the lower limit of the retirement age. It is now 63 while the upper
68. The trade unions are also opposed to proposals on raising the lower
limit of the
retirement age. Unions believe that people would voluntarily choose to
retire later if working conditions could be developed in ways that are more
conducive and less damaging to people's health.
Record number of highly
educated people are unemployed
Helsinki (20.12.2012 - Juhani Artto) It still
holds true - in general terms - that the better a person's education is, the
better his or her chances are of being employed or finding a job. But this
generalization has gradually lost much of its strength. Prior to the
early 1990s depression in the Finnish economy, the unemployment rate of
highly-educated people was extremely low, less than 1 per cent. During the
depression it peaked at around 7 per cent and then came down to about 4-5 per cent
where it has remained since 1999. The
still relatively low unemployment rate disguises the fact that the number
of highly-educated unemployed people has trendwise grown fairly rapidly.
A new study questions benefits of outsourcing of public services
Helsinki (17.12.2012 – Juhani Artto) In the 2000s, the debate on the role of
public services in social and health care has been continuous. During
the months preceding the municipal elections, held at the end of October,
this issue was at the fore of public debate.
There are no explicit findings on questions concerning cost benefits or
deficits as a result of outsourcing. The same generalization may be made
concerning how the quality of services has changed when outsourcing is
These conclusions are once again confirmed in a comprehensive study,
published in October by the common body
Fipsu, made up of nine public sector
The English language summary of the study can be found
(a 4-page docx-file).
to privatisation of road-builder Destia
JHL (17.12.2012 - Juhani Artto)
The future ownership of Destia, the state-owned company which constructs and
maintains roads and railways is at stake. Parliament had approved its
privatisation back in 2010 and Heidi Hautala, the green minister
responsible for state ownership matters, was ready to go ahead with the
November. However, the two leftist parties in the six-party coalition
government of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, find the proposed privatisation
of this state-owned company
Trade unions organizing Destia's employees, JHL and Pardia, are vehemently
opposed to the
initiative. Jarkko Eloranta, the President of JHL, warns that
privatisation of this vital part of our infrastructure sector could lead to
similar price increases which have blighted the construction sector in
companies breach employees’ right to organize
Helsinki (14.12.2012 – Juhani Artto) In Mexico several Finnish-based
companies are failing to respect the right of their employees to organize.
This was exposed in a report published by the Finnish watchdog Finnwatch on
Tuesday. The companies breaching employees’ rights are Huhtamäki, Kone,
Luvata and Metso. The report does not include data from Nokia’s and Savcor’s
factories in Mexico as these companies declined to respond to Finnwatch’s
questionnaire. The report is
part of a Finnwatch programme that is supported by the trade
unions JHL, Pro and Team, among other sponsors. In spring 2012, the
Finnish-based company PKC Group was exposed for similar unjust behaviour.
– Read more:
Maassa maan tavalla?, the English language summary on page 5, Finnwatch
2012, 20-page pdf-file
Finnish industry has not lost its price competitiveness
Helsinki (07.12.2012 - Juhani Artto) Finland's exports have weakened in the
2000s, and last year the current account balance slipped into negative
figures for the first time in many years. Employer representatives claim
that the problems in exports are due to weakened price competitiveness of
the industrial sector. But this is not true, comments Jorma Antila, the
director of the research unit at the Metalworkers' Union.
He refers to statistics that offer no hard facts in support of the
claims. The price competitiveness of the industrial sector has remained
fairly stable throughout the 2000s, Antila reminds us in his column in Ahjo,
the magazine of the Metalworkers' Union.
JHL at the PSI World
Goals are the same but circumstances vary widely
JHL (07.12.2012 - Juhani Artto)
JHL had a 9-member delegation in attendance at the PSI World Congress from
27 to 30 November in Durban. The unity on goals was the most impressive
feature of the congress for the JHL representatives.
Concerns are the same across the world, says Jaana Heininen, one of the JHL
representatives. “But the level of problems is so different in various
countries. In many countries even the most basic things are in bad shape.
When compared with those countries it is easy to conclude that our situation
in Finland is rather good.”
Workers' gender pay gap
continued to narrow in the industrial sector
Helsinki (05.12.2012 - Juhani Artto) In the second quarter 2012 the average
wages for female workers in Finnish industry were 85.2 per cent of average
wages for male workers. In the last two years the gap has slightly narrowed
and is now marginally narrower than in the fourth quarter 2006. In the
second quarter 2002 the corresponding figure was 80.5 per cent.
urges more cooperation
between European trade unions
Helsinki (30.11.2012 - Juhani Artto) European trade unions should engage in
even closer cooperation especially now when there are serious political
tensions in the EU, says Mikko Mäenpää, the President of the Finnish
Confederation of Professionals STTK. He spoke on Wednesday in Lisbon at a
conference where Portuguese and Nordic labour market models were compared. -
Cuts in wages and social security in one member state inevitably puts
pressure - sooner or later - on other member states to follow suit and
implement similar cuts, he argued. Moreover, closer cooperation between
European unions is essential if the trade union movement hopes to have any
influence with the European Commission in regard to safety and health
matters among other things. Mäenpää criticized the Commission's work
programme for the coming year for ignoring the EU’s Strategy on Safety and
Health at Work.
- Read more:
More cooperation is needed between the trade unions in Europe, STTK 29
New reverse VAT system in
increases tax revenues
Helsinki (29.11.2012 - Juhani Artto) Finland introduced a reverse charge in
VAT (value added taxation) for the construction sector on 1 April 2011. With
reverse VAT it is the buyer of services that pay the VAT and not the seller
as is common under the normal VAT system. In practice, this means that the
main contractor is obliged to report and pay VAT to the Tax Administration
(Inland Revenue) in respect of the entire work or project.
Preliminary results indicate that this measure has succeeded in reducing tax
fraud, which was the main goal of the reform. According to the study,
published on Tuesday by the Tax Administration, the changes boost
state coffers by at least EUR 75 million more in VAT-revenue annually.
Retail staff face growing danger at work
(27.09.2012 - link to the web site of Yle News)
Foreigners 'invisible victims' of financial crimes
(25.09.2012 - link to the web site of Yle News)
One out of six wage and
salary earners work in temporary jobs
Helsinki (23.11.2012 - Juhani Artto) The public sector uses relatively more
fixed-term employment relations than the private sector but the pay gap
between permanent and temporary employees is wider in the private sector.
This situation has remained unchanged for many years. In 2011, nearly 16 per
cent of all wage and salary earners had a temporary job.
Almost 23 per cent of public sector employees were in fixed-term employment
relations. At central government level the proportion was slightly higher
than at local government level. In the private sector 12 per cent of the
employees held temporary jobs. Less than 13 per cent of males worked as
temporary employees, whereas 18.5 per cent of females had fixed-term
Eloranta regards proposals by the government for reforming the structures of
municipalities and the social and health services as promising
JHL (19.11.2012 - Juhani Artto)
Jarkko Eloranta, the President of JHL, characterises
the proposals the government published last week to reform the
structures of the municipalities and the social and health services as a
promising step forward.
"Commitment to prioritising the
service provision offered by the municipalities themselves is especially
gratifying. Out of the totality of municipal reform, this has been one of
the most important elements for JHL."
STTK and Akava:
EU's economic and employment coordination
must be based on tripartite preparation
Helsinki (14.11.2012 - Juhani Artto) The three union confederations in
Finland - SAK, STTK and Akava – support the euro and the strengthening of
EU's economic policy cooperation and regard economic coordination as
essential. However, when it comes to the question of EU economic steering
the independent bargaining position of labour market parties must be fully
respected, the union confederations stress.
This demand is included in the statement the three organizations presented
on Wednesday to Jyrki Katainen, the Prime Minister of Finland. The statement
is aimed to coincide with the day of action and solidarity the European
trade union movement is organising on November 14.
Very few municipal employees fear termination of employment
JHL (09.11.2012 - Juhani Artto)
In Finland municipal employees continue to have great faith in job
According to a new book published on Tuesday by the Finnish Institute
of Occupational Health, only three per cent of municipal employees
agonise about losing their jobs.
The book summarizes the results of a number of
large-scale studies made in the 2000s on the well-being of municipal
employees at work.
As a general trend there has been a reduction in stress levels, although
almost a third (29 per
cent) experience workloads which exceed their endurance limits. The
situation is worst among municipal social workers as almost half of them
per cent) claim to have too much work.
A new study:
Producers and users of natural rubber products ignore
the serious social and health problems in the production chain
Helsinki (08.11.2012 – Juhani Artto) The Finnish-based tyre manufacturer
Nokian Renkaat uses anything from 40,000 to 50,000 tons of natural
rubber annually. The processors and traders that provide natural rubber
to the company have committed themselves to respect the code of conduct
of Nokian Renkaat. However, the code’s reach is limited as it only
concerns the personnel of the processors and traders themselves but not
those of the rubber plantations or the
and health problems endured by rubber tappers and rubber workers are
totally ignored by Nokian Renkaat.
This data is from a study published in October by the Nordic watchdogs
Finnwatch and Danwatch. Five Finnish unions (JHL, Pro, SEL, Team and
and the Finnish development NGO Solidaarisuus support Finnwatch’s
organizing various international solidarity activities, the
present study included.
crisis has slowed down the rise of nominal pay
Helsinki (31.10.2012 - Juhani Artto) In the last quarter of 2011, the
average monthly pay was EUR 3111*. In the space of one year it had increased
by EUR 68. During the year prior to that the increase was EUR 66.
In the period from 2002 to 2011 these two figures (EUR 68 and EUR 66) were
the smallest one-year rises of the average nominal pay. The highest
increases were recorded from the last quarter of 2007 to the last quarter of
2008 (EUR 142) and in the following year (EUR 101) and in the preceding year
In the period from 2002 to 2006 the figures expressing the annual rise of
the average nominal pay varied from EUR 79 to EUR 96. What is remarkable in
these statistical figures is that, on average, nominal wages and salaries
kept growing during the deep slump, experienced in 2008-2009.
Eloranta demands gender
impact assessment of outsourcing
JHL (25.10.2012 - Juhani Artto)
In the municipal election of 28 October voters decide also on employer
policy, says Jarkko Eloranta, JHL's President. "The election result has an impact on municipal employer's policy
decisions, and those decisions are felt especially in women's lives, as a
big majority of municipal employees are women."
Eloranta stresses that outsourcing of municipal services so that cheaper
collective agreements will be applied is a typical matter concerns women in
particular. "To a great extent it is their wages and working conditions that are in the
play." "Therefore when outsourcing and tendering one should always make a gender
impact assessment before the decisions are made. And the results of the
assessment should naturally be taken into account."
Union confederations and SASK reject proposals
to cut wages
and salaries of young people
Helsinki (23.10.2012 – Juhani Artto) In Finland, every now and then the
proposal to pay lower starting rates for young people as they enter working
life rears its ugly head. Indeed, this is a favourite ploy of the
entrepreneur associations. The union
confederations SAK, STTK and Akava and the trade union solidarity centre
SASK are unanimous in their condemnation of this call to lower young
people’s pay saying that it is quite unnecessary and unfair in their joint
Dozens of employees from Sri Lanka victims of aggravated extortion
Helsinki (16.10.2012 - Juhani Artto) Illegal treatment of immigrant
seems to have become an integral part of Finnish working life. The
latest exposure concerns 36 employees of the cleaning company Ariel
Oy that has had large assignments from public authorities in Helsinki
Espoo. Most of the victims are from Sri Lanka, the union magazine PAM
reports. In late September, the managing director and two supervisors of
company were convicted of aggravated extortion and other work-related
crimes by Vantaa District Court. - Read more:
"This is certainly quite alarming", PAM 12.10.2012
JHL serves its Swedish
speaking rank and file members in Swedish
JHL (11.10.2012 - Juhani Artto)
According to the latest statistics, 3.2 per cent of JHL's rank and file
members belong to the Swedish speaking minority. Finnish speakers constitute
94.8 per cent and "the others" 2.0 per cent.
JHL's magazine Motiivi outlined in its latest issue how the union serves its
Swedish speaking rank and file members in their mother tongue. One may well
generalize that the service is at least satisfactory or even good which is
not very common in Finland in associations where the language minorities are
OL3 nuclear power plant construction site:
Payment of taxes and social security contributions has clearly improved
but serious wage and working hour problems prevail
Helsinki (09.10.2012 - Juhani Artto) The Employment and Equality Committee
of the Finnish Parliament is organising a public hearing on Wednesday
conditions at the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant construction site. Despite
intensive and concerted efforts by the trade unions representing workers at
the site serious wage and salary
dumping as well as working hour irregularities have prevailed. Also flagrant
obstacles to workers joining union organizations remain in place.
Nordic countries worry over EU internal market package
(08.10.2012 - link to the web site of Nordic Labour Journal)
European Commission grabbing
power from labour market organizations, FinUnion's Director claims
SAK/Palkkatyöläinen (03.10.2012 - Aino Pietarinen) "In the EU, decisions are
now being made
in the name of economic policy coordination that will have a bigger
impact on wage and salary earners than working life directives", warns
Marianne Muona, the Acting Director of FinUnions (The Finnish trade unions
representation to the EU).
Thus, the European Commission is extending the reach of its power to, among
other things, wage and
salary formation. This means that the Commission, through its
coordination role, is seeking to circumvent power traditionally held by the
labour market organizations, the European
Parliament and Council who, together, normally impose working life
Programming becomes more
expensive in India than in Finland
Helsinki (27.09.2012 - Juhani Artto) In India a programme developer is paid
30 per cent of a programme developer's salary in Finland, when the
mandatory social contributions are included in the calculation. However, the
work done in Finland turns out to be less costly for the company than the
work done in
Two factors make programming in Finland cheaper. In Finland programmers make
far fewer mistakes than their colleagues in India and in Finland the work
takes far less time to complete than in India.
The comparison originates from a secret, internal study, made by Nokia
Siemens Network (NSN). The magazine 3-T has received a copy of the study and
has now published key data from it. The company management has not made any
comment on the revelations.
Eloranta concerned about municipalities' ability to provide services
JHL (26.09.2012 - Juhani Artto)
Jarkko Eloranta, the President of the JHL, is deeply concerned about the
ability of municipalities to provide proper and adequate municipal services.
Among municipal directors and leading officials there may even be a lack of
willingness to provide them, he says in an interview with SAK's magazine
"First services are outsourced, then financing for these stops. Soon the
welfare society will come to end of the road", Eloranta warns.
Municipal services are often long processes where special skills of
employees in various professions are needed. If parts of the process are
outsourced, the entireties become more complex and control over the quality
becomes more difficult and problematic.
More than 12,000 jobs lost to date in 2012
(24.09.2012 - link to the web site of Yle News)
Small businesses call for cuts to employment security
(23.09.2012 - link to the web site of Yle News)
Not gimmicks but
long-term development work improves
well-being at work
Pro (21.09.2012 - Juhani Artto)
Salaried employees' trade union Pro published the results of its
latest survey on Wednesday. It is based on replies given in April-May 2012
by 12,000 rank
and file members. The survey focuses (1) on the state and development of
well-being at work, (2) on the pay, working hours etc., as well as systems
at work places
and (3) on productivity.
The results of the survey expose that attempts to develop well-being at work
have not led to any clear improvement despite the numerous projects that
have been tried and other
efforts to reach a higher level of well-being at work. One may conclude from
the lack of desired results
that any efforts to achieve well-being at work - at company and work
place level - must be more serious and ultimately is something that requires
a more long-term approach says Antti Rinne,
the President of the union. And this is also a key element in the struggle
productivity, he adds.
Finland’s comprehensive social guarantee for young people
(20.09.2012 - link to the web site of Nordic Labour Journal)
Finnish union leaders warn of doubtful side of
"German labour market
Helsinki (18.09.2012 - Juhani Artto) A report published in early August by
the Federation of the Finnish Technology Industry indicates that Finland's
cost competitiveness has declined in comparison with its main competitors.
In the debate surrounding this issue employer representatives have
to the strength of the German export industry, in particular, and hinted
Finland should follow Germany's example.
"Germany's road cannot be our road", say the Presidents of two influential
unions, namely, the metalworkers' Riku Aalto and private sector salaried
Antti Rinne (trade union Pro). They came to this clear conclusion in late
August when the two unions published their 30-page study on how Germany's
labour market model has treated wage and salary earners since the middle of
The European water campaign is now collecting signatures
on the web
JHL (14.09.2012 - Juhani Artto)
The European campaign "Water is a Human Right" is now also collecting
electrically on the web. The goal is to collect one million signatures by
the end of this year. All citizens that have a right to vote in one of the
27 EU Member States can sign the campaign appeal.
The eight-language web site (not Finnish or Swedish) for the signature
collection is at the address
When visiting the page for signatures one should select the member state one comes from. The
Finnish and Swedish language site is published at the address
ID requirement for construction workers targets the grey economy
Helsinki (05.09.2012 - Juhani
Artto) All workers at new construction sites in Finland must now have
identification documents containing their personal taxation numbers, under
new legislation that came into force on 1 September 2012. Workers at older
construction sites must have such ID by 1 March 2013. Foreign workers are
not exempted from the new rules. These novel regulations may become the most
powerful weapon available to the Finnish authorities in their struggle
against the grey economy. Over the last decade illicit employment practices
have spread alarmingly through Finland’s construction sector. This has made
it more difficult for honest companies to win tenders, and deprived the
authorities of hundreds of millions of euros in unpaid taxes and social
security contributions. Both Finnish and foreign companies have been
involved in such illegalities. The revised legislation additionally compels
contractors to check that sub-contractors meet their obligations towards
Union leader on UPM's logger policy:
"This deserves to be categorised as white slave trade"
Helsinki (31.08.2012 - Juhani Artto) Sakari Lepola, the President of the
Wood and Allied Workers' Union, is incensed by what he discovered on a
recent visit to
UPM's mill and forests in Rauma, a coastal city in Western
Finland. This anger was provoked by the double-standard being employed by
multinational in regard to its personnel policy.
From the point of view of a trade unionist, superficially at least, the
situation at the mill was
satisfactory. Cooperation between the management and the employees was
smoothly, and in contrast to many other companies, maintenance work had not
been outsourced. Within the walls or confines of the mill the company seems
understand the value of its workforce, Lepola writes in Särmä, the union
magazine. "This is how a large multinational company should
But on venturing into the forest - a short trip from the mill - Lepola felt he
had taken a step into the past.
Unions turn down employer
proposals to open up the framework agreement for new negotiations
Helsinki (25.08.2012 - Juhani Artto). Employers' proposals to renegotiate
the framework agreement have not been well received by union organizations.
The two strongest employer organizations (the Confederation of Finnish
Industries EK and the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries) made
their proposals last week.
Union leader reactions did not leave any room for speculation. They
that the framework agreement can only be terminated or suspended if the
parties who signed it
agree to do so jointly.
Transport Union says Metro subcontractors underpay lorry drivers
-About 20 drivers not paid extras and overtime pay at
(23.08.2012 - link to the web site of Helsingin Sanomat)
employees are ready to consider
continuation of the framework
JHL (22.08.2012 - Juhani Artto)
Union organizations in the municipal sector support continuation of the
framework agreement, signed in November 2011. The agreement formed the basis
for the realisation of collective agreements that cover all employees in the
public sector and
over 91 per cent of the wage and salaried employees in the private sector.
The collective agreement in respect of municipal employees is due to expire
China's ACFTU wants
to learn from SAK how to promote
Helsinki (21.08.2012 - Juhani Artto) A delegation from China's union
confederation ACFTU visited Finland last week and met with Lauri Lyly, the
President of Finland's largest union confederation SAK. According to SAK,
the Chinese were primarily interested in SAK's experiences in the promotion
employees' rights, and through that avenue, the well-being of the entire
"It is important to find a balance whereby sufficient economic growth
the well-being of companies. Then these companies can afford to pay proper
salaries to their employees", says Mr. Wang Ruisheng, the Vice-President of
ACFTU in a short interview published by SAK.
Trade Union News from Finland begins its 16th year
in service of the
union movement today
Helsinki (15.08.2012 - Juhani Artto) Fifteen years ago, when beginning to
publish this web publication, my motivation was to serve both the Finnish
and the global trade union movements. I firmly believed then that there were many
things happening, and of relevance, in Finnish working life and in Finnish
trade unions worthy of reports, in a language widely understood around the
This motivation and this belief have not waned in the past fifteen years.
Rather the contrary. And, very briefly, I would like to outline some of the
reasons why I have remained steadfast and optimistic about Finland and the
worldwide labour movement. -
Read more ...
JHL wants more money
for municipalities in the 2013 state budget
JHL (13.08.2012 - Juhani Artto)
JHL proposes several changes to the 2013 state budget proposal published on
Wednesday by the Ministry of Finance. The government will deliberate on the
Ministry's proposal at the end of August.
JHL is satisfied with the proposal's overall trend emphasizing the need for
tax rises instead of
cuts in public expenditure when balancing the budget.
However, the union is dissatisfied with the proposed EUR 125 million cuts
in the state's support towards municipalities. "Reduction in this support to
the municipalities will inevitably mean weaker services and cuts in
personnel", JHL notes critically.
It urges the state to make up for any loss of direct support by, for
directing revenues from the waste tax and other eventual environmental taxes
to the municipalities. - Read more:
Ministry of Finance budget proposal reinforces central government finances
and promotes growth, MoF 07.08.2013
Wages and salaries sum grew by 4.8 per cent in April to June
(13.08.2012 - link to the web site of Statistics Finland)
Unions offer hotline
for young people working during summertime
Helsinki (09.08.2012 - Juhani Artto) About 500 people have called the
hotline that counsels young people working in summer jobs. Most of the
questions have - overwhelmingly so in fact- have concerned pay-related issues,
Joonas Tutti, who effectively runs the service.
The hotline itself was set up by the three union confederations SAK, STTK
and Akava. And it has proved to be even more popular than in 2011. The
service has been available from early May and lasts until August 24. The
hotline is not the only counselling service for young summer employees. The
web site Kesäduunari-info
lists and explains in Finnish and Swedish matters that any newcomer in the
working life should comprehend. Such matters are, for example, employment
contract and occupational safety. The site is created by SAK, STTK and Akava.
Transfer pricing by companies cuts state tax revenue
(08.08.2012 - link to the web site of Helsingin Sanomat)
Unemployment has gone
down in Finland
despite the Eurozone crisis
Helsinki (01.08.2012 - Juhani Artto) The number of unemployed fell
slightly from June 2011 to June 2012, Statistics Finland reports. Also,
trend in the unemployment rate has taken a downward turn following the
Will this positive trend continue in the near future? Much depends on
the ultimate outcome of the Eurozone crisis, as Finland's economy is
very dependent on the development of its export markets, especially to
Sweden, Germany and several other EU Member States, as well as Russia.
Estonians favour Finland
when working abroad
Helsinki (23.07.2012 - Juhani Artto) Finland is the favourite foreign
country for Estonians working or planning to work abroad. Finland is mentioned as an
attractive option by 43 per cent of those who are ready to work outside of
Estonia. Finland is followed by Germany and Sweden. England and Norway
receive a positive response from 15 per cent of "willing to work abroad"
Finland is looked upon favourably by Estonians because of the
similarities of Finnish and Estonian languages and because of the close
proximity between the two countries and
cheap fares when travelling to Southern Finland across the Gulf of Finland.
indicates also that positive experiences of the host country and
relatives and friends living there play a significant role when heading for
JHL's rank and file members more eager than Union Council
to take industrial
action so as to
JHL (20.07.2012 - Juhani Artto)
Over 60 per cent (60.1) of JHL's rank and file members reply YES to the
following claim: "Local chapters should be prepared to endorse industrial
action more frequently to force
employers to pay attention to personnel opinions in
situations of change." Within the Union Council only a minority (43.4 per
share this conclusion.
Another significant difference concerns taxation of wage and salary earners.
Almost 60 per cent (59.1) of the rank and file members support lowering
the income tax wage and salary earners have to pay while only 41.5 per cent
of the Union Council members think similarly.
Berry pickers must
be paid at least EUR 7.91 per hour
Helsinki (18.07.2012 - Juhani Artto) Currently, thousands of seasonal
employees are working in Finland as berry pickers at the many strawberry
fields scattered throughout the country. Many
are Finnish schoolboys and schoolgirls but since the 1990s a substantial
proportion of strawberry pickers have been foreigners. Soon thousands
more berry pickers will arrive in Finland to pick forest berries, such as
blueberries, cloudberries and cranberries. Most of them fly into Finland
In recent years the working conditions and often the sad fate of forest
berry pickers from Thailand, and some other countries outside of the
European Union, have caused much public outcry in Finland. -
Wages and terms of employment applied in berrypicking 2012 (published in April 2012 by Occupational safety and health administration)
Two new studies:
Employers' attitudes in industry have both hardened and softened
Helsinki (10.07.2012 - Juhani Artto) A new study conducted among rank and
members of the Metalworkers' Union indicate that employers' attitudes have
hardened. Just 21 per cent of the respondents had been informed about
changes in their work as early as the planning stage. The proportion of
such employees has gradually decreased. In 2007 and in 2002 the proportion
was 25 per cent, but in 1997 still 34 per cent. More positive results were
received in a study carried out among shop stewards of the industrial union
Surprisingly, 76 per cent of the respondents believe they were able to
influence the outcome of the corporate-level mandatory consultations. In
2009 only 52 per cent of the respondents reported similar sentiments. "The
that employee representatives cannot have an impact on consultation
results is hit hard by the replies", the union magazine Intiim concludes.
JHL satisfied with the
planned job security rule
for the municipal reform
JHL (04.07.2012 - Juhani Artto)
The government of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen offers in its programme*
strong job security guarantees to municipal employees who will
be affected by the
broad and radical municipal reform underway. "Wherever restructuring
processes are instituted, the position of Staff members will be secured at
the level determined by current legislation", the programme of the six-party
coalition government affirms. In effect, this means a five-year job security
group: Obligation to provide a receipt would combat grey economy in the
beauty care sector
(03.07.2012 - link to the web site of MEE)
A new study found both
improvement and serious deficiencies
in working conditions of Chinese workers
Helsinki (28.06.2012 - Juhani Artto) The Swedish watchdog Swedwatch
collected data in spring 2012 on working conditions at four Chinese
factories that produce products for Biltema, Clas Ohlson and Fiskars. In the
Nordic countries these three companies are well-known to most consumers
looking for garden, hobby and/or home accessories.
The Finnish watchdog Finnwatch published its own analysis on Monday based
on the data put together by Swedwatch. The data concerns working conditions
at four factories in Guangdong. The new data enables us to understand and
draw conclusions on how working conditions have changed in recent years as
Swedwatch made a similar study in 2005.
Eloranta: Provision of services by municipalities themselves is the bedrock
of the welfare state
JHL (21.06.2012 - Juhani Artto)
Provision of services by the municipalities is decisive for the
the welfare state, says Jarkko Eloranta, President of the JHL. He
characterizes the municipalities' own service provision as "sustainable,
and flexible". It is also good for employment and the entire economy,
"With the service provision of municipalities intact, private capital
investors cannot create service monopolies who seek to make profits from
A recent study, made by Keva (former Local Government Pensions Institution),
revealed that about half of the municipalities and joint municipal
authorities have either already replaced some of their outsourced services
with their own provision of services or are considering doing so.
In Sweden researchers find
alarming number of people with criminal convictions in
leading positions of listed companies
Helsinki (17.06.2012 - Timo-Erkki Heino) More than one out of five, 22 per
cent, of the board members and the CEOs of Swedish listed companies has
been convicted of a crime resulting in fines or in custodial or
suspended prison sentences. The most common crime among the boards of
directors and chief executives has been drunken or reckless driving.
But also crimes endangering life and health, such as assault, were
committed, as well as fraud and insider trading.
The findings were revealed in two research reports
connected with the Sustainable Investment Research Platform SIRP at the Umeå
School of Business in Sweden and headed by economics professor Lars Hassel.
Nokia shares plummit, unions call for action
(14.06.2012 - link to the web site of Yle News)
Nokia to cut 3,700 jobs in Finland
(14.06.2012 - link to the web site of Yle News)
Six unions demand
TVO action against illegalities
at nuclear power plant
Helsinki (11.06.2012 - Juhani Artto) When the Finnish nuclear power company
TVO speaks about the construction site of its third nuclear power plant OL3,
it sounds as if the company is either a cynical liar or totally ignorant
of the reality on the ground.
On Thursday 7 June the company released a statement insisting on its strict
respect for the legislation, collective agreements and the organizing rights
of the employees. It also pledged its assurance that all of its
and in turn, all their subcontractors, would follow the same principles.
However, this is far from the case, concerned trade unions claim. On the
day, June 7, six trade unions held a press conference where they declared
their decision to begin industrial action against TVO in a bid to force it
actively defend the legislation, collective agreements and organizing
A paperworker is just as
expensive in Finland as in Sweden
to the employer
Helsinki (06.06.2012 - Juhani Artto) The Swedish union publication Dagens
Arbete surprised its readers on May 3 by claiming that a paperworker cost
their employer in Finland over 1.5 times more than in Sweden last year.
According to the news an operating employee cost EUR 43 per hour
in Finland as opposed to EUR 28 per hour in Sweden on average.
The news caused amazement at the union of the Finnish paperworkers
Paperiliitto, which has been closely following personnel cost changes over
decades. The figures presented by Dagens Arbete seemed to be on the wrong
track not only concerning Sweden but also concerning Canada and Japan.
unanimously to continue as President of JHL
JHL (06.06.2012 - Juhani
Artto) Jarkko Eloranta was elected unanimously, on Wednesday, by the Union
Council to serve for another 5 years as the union's President. He has held
the post since September 2011. The 120-member Union Council had its first
meeting on Wednesday following the election by direct ballot in March this
year. The Council meeting continues on Thursday. The Union Council also
elected two Vice Presidents. Teija Asara-Laaksonen once again received the
mandate to continue as one of the Vice Presidents alongside Päivi
Niemi-Laine, who was also elected to this post. Eloranta and Niemi-Laine are
Social Democrats. Asara-Laaksonen represents the Left Alliance.
JHL effort to collect signatures for the water campaign underway
JHL (29.05.2012 - Juhani Artto)
The European campaign Water is a Human Right got off to a strong start in
Finland over the weekend.
JHL, the largest trade union in the public sector,
collected almost 400 signatures towards the campaign appeal. Two ministers
from the present government were among those who signed.
The venue was the annual world village festival in Helsinki city centre.
JHL had there
a stall to promote the campaign and serve as a contact point for
Those who signed the appeal are demanding clean water and functioning
sanitation for all people -
not only in Europe but throughout the world. The EU must participate
the implementation of this demand. The third demand is to ensure these
be kept public.
A tripartite task
force in search of ways to improve the unfair status of atypical labour
Helsinki (28.05.2012 - Juhani Artto) What is the status of employees in
fixed-time jobs and part-time jobs, of agency labour and of self-employed
and how to develop and enhance their status? These are the questions on the
table of a
tripartite task force that was established by the Ministry of Employment and
the Economy last year.
The task force published its first report in mid-May. It identifies some
problems these groups face in the labour market. Generally speaking, they do
not have all the rights that employees in full-time and permanent employment
relations have and also their economic status tends to be lower than that
of their full-time, permanent job colleagues.
About 250 rank and file members candidate
in Pro's Union Council election
Pro (22.05.2012 - Juhani Artto)
A new Union Council for the Trade Union Pro will be elected after the
vacation period. The voting will begin on August 27 and end on September 7.
Some 250 rank and file members are standing for election to the 100-member
Council. The time
for selecting candidates, within the associations, ended on May 15.
Members, who are working or looking for work or temporarily outside of the
labour market, have the right to vote in the election. This concerns rank
and file members who are included in the union's rank and file member
register by August 1 (4pm).
Nordic opposition to minimum wage shows lack of solidarity?
(22.05.2012 - link to the web site of Nordic
Life after Nokia also means new opportunities
(22.05.2012 - link to the web site of Nordic
Finland, Denmark, Germany and Sweden have successfully reformed their labour
markets in the 2000s
Helsinki (21.05.2012 - Juhani Artto) In the 2000s, Finland, Denmark, Germany
and Sweden have waged an active labour market policy. They have continuously
reformed their labour markets in order to balance supply and demand. All
countries have succeeded fairly well in this demanding task, at least when
comparing their achievements with other EU Member States. In these four
countries employment rates are higher and unemployment rates lower
than in EU Member States on average. A new study, commissioned and published by the Ministry of Employment and
the Economy in Finland (MEE), analyses labour market reforms in these
four countries from 2000 to 2010. -
Study indicates that long-term approach is needed on labour market reforms, MEE 10.05.2012
Pam magazine: The last links in the chain
(21.05.2012 - link to the web site of Pam
Human rights expert Parul Sharma to join Stora Enso
(21.05.2012 - link to the web site of Stora
Salaried employees in the
financial sector earn EUR2,736 on average
Pro News (14.05.2012 - Katja Palhus / Juhani Artto)
The average salary of financial sector salaried employees is EUR300 below
the average pay of Finnish wage and salary earners.
In October 2011 financial sector salaried employees earned, on average,
EUR2,736. The average pay of the sector's entire personnel was EUR3,771. The
pay level varies according to the nature and levels of the tasks and on the
location. In the Greater Helsinki Region the pay level is higher than
elsewhere in Finland.
interaction between employers and employees leads to longer
JHL (14.05.2012 - Juhani Artto)
In Finland there prevails a common understanding on the need to extend work
careers, Union Council of JHL stated in its communique on Thursday. "In
labour-intensive sectors it is possible to extend work careers and raise
productivity, when the personnel are motivated and conscious of goals and
To a large extent it depends on the employers' willingness and ability to
integrate well-being at work and occupational safety with planning,
management and monitoring, the Council stressed.
ethnic discrimination most prevalent during recruitment stage
Helsinki (09.05.2012 - Juhani Artto) In the Finnish labour market ethnic
minorities face discrimination at the recruitment stage in particular.
At work places and in termination situations ethnic discrimination is
not as common as at the recruitment stage. These are some of the major
findings in a new study (Discrimination in the Finnish labor market. An overview and a field
experiment on recruitment, MEE May 2012, a 212-page pdf-file) on discrimination in the labour market.
The study covers all labour-related categories and all grounds
the Finnish Non-Discrimination Act. According to the study, other
such as age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion and
do not lead to labour discrimination as frequently as ethnicity (and
nationality and language, which are closely related to ethnicity). The
frequency of ethnic discrimination is over three times higher than
discrimination, the researchers conclude.
Finns' support for organizing remains very high
Helsinki (04.05.2012- Heikki Jokinen) An overwhelming majority of Finns
regard it as necessary for wage and salary earners to join a union. When
asked how necessary it is to organize 46 per cent of the respondents say it
to be "very necessary" and another 46 per cent "rather necessary".
This is among the most important findings in a survey covering the
population from the age of 15 upwards.
The support for organizing was even slightly higher than in the seven
similar surveys made since 2004. The latest survey confirms that positive
attitudes towards trade unions and expectations from these organisations
Weak control of foreign labour and companies
cause major tax losses
Helsinki (26.04.2012- Heikki Jokinen) The tax base was
narrowed in 2010 by as much as
675 million euro due to the shortcomings in asserting control over the
labour force in Finland. In real terms this meant an actual loss in tax
revenues of approximately 100 -
150 million euro.
The figures are from a recent report on the efficacy of regulations
foreign labour in Finland. It is written by a senior researcher into the
black economy, Mr. Markku Hirvonen, and commissioned by the National Police
The report reveals that at least 31,000 foreign workers - and this is a
conservative estimate - arrived in
Finland to work for foreign companies. Some 24,000 of these employees
were not registered with the Finnish Tax Administration.
Eloranta wants to continue as
JHL (23.04.2012/corrected 24.04.2012 - Juhani Artto) Jarkko Eloranta, JHL's President since September
2011, has reacted
positively to union activists who have asked him to stand for
re-election. The new 120-member Union Council will hold its first meeting
from 5 to 7 June 2012 in Helsinki and will elect the President and two Vice
Presidents for a five-year term.
As to date, two persons have announced their candidacy for the Vice
posts. They are Pirjo Mäkinen, Vice President since September 2011, and
Päivi Niemi-Laine who heads JHL's communications and community relations
unit. Following a common practice in the Finnish trade union movement,
the aforementioned were also prevailed upon, by union activist groups, to
put themselves forward as candidates in the Vice Presidential election.
Bus drivers in Helsinki to hold a 24-hour strike on May 2
JHL (18.04.2012 - Juhani Artto)
Bus drivers working for Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy and organized in the
trade union JHL will be on strike on Wednesday May 2. The 24-hour strike
begins and ends at midnight.
JHL has decided to organize the strike because of the problems JHL's
negotiators have encountered during collective bargaining with the
representatives of Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy. The employer organization PTY
is not willing to apply the framework agreement, largely approved in the
labour market, and is trying to undermine the working conditions of its
JHL's goal is for the present parties to sign a collective agreement whose
cost impact is based on the framework agreement. The current collective
agreement expires on April 30.
The number of work
accidents rose again in 2011
Helsinki (16.04.2012 - Juhani Artto) The latest statistics on work accidents
reveal a fairly alarming trend. Despite the best efforts of individuals and
organizations to reduce the number of work accidents there has been a marked
increase in 2011-up by over six per cent from 2010.
And this follows an earlier five per cent
rise in 2010.
This worsening trend can also be seen from the changes in the overall
accident rate. Between 2009 and 2011 it rose by over eight per cent. Thus,
variation of economic activity does not offer any real comfort when studying
PKC's biggest owner
considers pulling out
due to trade union
restrictions at Mexican factory
Helsinki (11.04.2012 - Heikki Jokinen) The Finnish pension insurance company
Ilmarinen says it may withdraw it's investments from the Finnish
auto parts company PKC due to the restrictions being placed on trade union
work in their
PKC's Mexican subsidiary Arneses y Accesorios de Mexico signed a collective
agreement with a union the workers do not want to represent them. Three
union presidents in Finland, Riku Aalto (Finnish Metalworkers' Union), Antti
Rinne (Pro) and Pertti Porokari (Union of Professional Engineers), sent a
letter to PKC’s CEO to protest vigorously at the decision that had been
taken by management. In the letter they charged unequivocally that the agreement was an
attempt to prevent genuine
trade union work and in violation of ILO conventions.
Labour disputes increasingly involve police
(10.04.2012 - link to the web site of
Wage and salary earners' pay differentials contracted further in 2010
(05.04.2012 - link to the web site of Statistics Finland)
confederations agree on how to extend work careers by one year
Helsinki (03.04.2012 - Juhani Artto) On March 22 labour market
confederations were finally able to agree on a substantial set of measures
that will extend work careers. Experts estimate that the agreement will
careers on average by one year.
Another positive outcome of the agreement is that the expected extension of
work careers will serve to balance the state budget, in the long-term, by
over EUR 2
billion per annum.
The agreement also paved the way for the government to refrain from any
cuts in social spending. The labour market confederations agreed on the work
career agreement at the 11th hour prior to a meeting where the government
was due to
make (and also made) decisions on a budget framework for several years to come.
JHL's new Union Council consists of 85 Social democrats
representatives of the Left Alliance
JHL (30.03.2012 - Juhani Artto)
In the vote to elect the new Union Council rank and file members of
Finland's largest trade union JHL have chosen candidates from only two of
the lists available, namely; those of the Social democrats and the Left
Alliance. Both lists also included "unaffiliated" candidates.
The Social democrats won 85 seats on the 120-member Council, the Left
Alliance 35. The lists of the Centre Party, the Greens and the Finns Party
received less than one per cent of the votes each. The Left Alliance was
able to increase its share of the vote, rather noticeably, up from 25.4 per
cent to 29.2 per cent while the Social Democrats’ share went down,
marginally, from 68.7 per cent to 67.7 per cent.
Finnish enterprises abroad, nearly 5,000 affiliates in 118 countries
(29.03.2012 - link to the web site of Statistics Finland)
Finnish trade unions turn
down European Commission's proposal
to limit the
right to strike
Helsinki (28.03.2012 - Juhani Artto) The three union confederations in
Finland - SAK, STTK and Akava - regard it as impossible to approve the
Commission's proposal concerning the right to strike. The proposal was
published on March 21.
The Commission wants to define, with the so-called Monti II Regulation, the
relationship between the right to take industrial action and the freedom of
establishment (right to set up and operate a business from any member state)
and freedom to provide services. The problem of how to reconcile
economic and social rights has come to light at the Court of Justice of the
European Union when handling disputes (the Viking and Laval cases)
which cross the borders of
member states and involve different national legislation.
JHL supports move to delve
into Finnish public sector's cooperation with
companies operating in developing countries
JHL (27.03.2012 - Juhani Artto)
Finnwatch, the watchdog agency tracking Finnish companies' operations in
countries has established a new research project supported by four Finnish
trade unions and the Finnish NGO International Solidarity Foundation. The
Decent Work programme will investigate working conditions at company units
those of their subcontractors in developing countries, which supply goods to
The unions taking part in this effort are the Trade Union for the Public and
Sectors JHL, the salaried employees union Pro, health and social sector
employees' Tehy and the Finnish Food Workers' Union SEL.
Proposals of labour
market organizations setto extend work careers and safeguard justice
The government had asked labour market organizations to agree on proposals
on how to extend work careers. The agreement that has now been reached
between the labour market organizations will have the effect of
simultaneously extending work careers and safeguarding
inter-generational justice, says the Finnish Confederation of Professionals
STTK. Its board approved the negotiation outcome on Thursday. Mikko Mäenpää,
the President of STTK, is satisfied with the common understanding that has
once again been found through negotiations between the labour market
SAK: A committee needed to
study men's situation
Helsinki (23.03.2012 - Heikki Jokinen) The union confederation SAK is
concerned about the situation of men in society. It requests that the
set up a committee to draft a report on the privileges men enjoy and the
problems they face to see in which way these are attributable to gender.
This would help to better guide
future Finnish policy in respect of gender equality.
Some 110,000 young people between the ages of 20 and 30 have no further
education other than the 9-year mandatory schooling. About 70,000 of these
are men. At
all levels men are more likely than women to interrupt their education. Men
also participate less in adult education than women.
Budget talks: Increase in VAT, changes to pensions and benefits
(22.03.2012 - link to the web site of Yle News)
AKT boss out, victory for the sacked comms chief
(22.03.2012 - link to the web site of Yle News)
Unemployment rate 7.7 per cent in February
(20.03.2012 - link to the web site of Statistics Finland)
Major Finnish-based companies have expanded their workforces abroad,
while reducing them in Finland
Helsinki (16.03.2012 - Heikki Jokinen, Juhani Artto) In the 2000's 13 major
Finnish-based multinational companies have almost doubled their personnel
abroad to about 234,000. In the same period they have cut the number of
their employees in Finland by nearly a third to 105,000. The proportion of
their employees working abroad rose, in a decade, from 47 per cent to 69 per
cent, researchers Ritva Oesch and Pekka Sauramo report in a new article.
Older salaried employees are pushed out of working life
by employers, Pro's survey reveals
Helsinki (14.03.2012 - Juhani Artto) In 2011, almost 25 per cent of
sector salaried employees, from 60 to 64 years of age, were given notice
their employers. Among those from 55 to 59 years of age nearly 15 per
lost their jobs as a result of their employers' decisions. In the age
brackets of younger salaried employees the dismissal rate was well below
10 per cent.
These are some of the major findings in a survey published on Wednesday
the salaried employees' trade union Pro. The figures are based on
given last year by 14,000 rank and file members of the union. These
people work, for
example, as experts and supervisors in industry and in the service,
ICT and communication sectors.
Gender equality has
improved too slowly
JHL (08.03.2012 - Juhani Artto)
Work to improve gender equality has not proceeded as anticipated.
Voicing the right
principles and coming up with good programmatic declarations have not
been enough to bring about effective change, claims Jarkko Eloranta, the
President of the Trade Union
for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL, in an interview published by the
union on March 8 - International Women's Day. Currently 69 per cent of JHL's rank and file members are women.
Nordic women loose power despite Denmark's new prime minister
(08.03.2012 - link to the web site of Nordic Labour Journal)
Bullying allegations shake position of Transport Workers' Union leader
(06.03.2012 - link to the web site of Helsingin Sanomat)
MEE's working life barometer 2011:
Relevance of work and willingness to work on the decline
Helsinki (29.02.2012 - Juhani Artto) The relevance of work and
work are diminishing, say a majority of wage and salary earners,
the latest working life barometer. It was published in January by the
Ministry of Employment and the Economy (MEE).
Recent annual reports reveal
this trend has been prevalent for a longer time already. In autumn 2011,
latest material was collected and sifted, it was found that the number
of negative replies (making up the majority) was even
greater than in previous years.
SAK dissatisfied with the proposals for Finland's
Helsinki (22.02.2012 - Heikki Jokinen) The union confederation SAK
the idea of creating a national strategy aimed at attracting foreign
to Finland. However, SAK is disappointed with the proposals* put forward
Eloranta, the retired CEO of Metso. SAK regards the proposals to cut
taxes as "unrealistic" and "unnecessary". The level of company taxation
Finland is nowadays below the average level of Western European
"Finland can be attractive to foreign investors only if it can offer
them versatile skills, a predictable tax policy, incorruptible
and stable circumstances", says Matti Tukiainen, the director of
policy at SAK. The proposals to improve the competitiveness of the
forest industry should be implemented without delay, and SAK demands
urgent action be taken to bring this about. The Paper
Workers' Union shares this view.
*One-man-committee Jorma Eloranta: More investment in Finland urgently
needed, MEE press release 15.02.2012
To raise or not to
Labour market organizations divided over minimum retirement age
Helsinki (20.02.2012 - Juhani Artto) The daily Helsingin Sanomat reported on
February 11 that the board of the union confederation SAK has mandated its
President Lauri Lyly to negotiate on the gradual raising of the minimum
retirement age, if the average retirement age does not rise as planned.
The labour market organizations and the government have set as their common
goal that the average retirement age should be raised to 62.4 years by 2025.
In 2011, the
figure rose by 0.1 percentage points to 60.5.
STTK's board does
not approve of raising
the minimum retirement age
The board of the Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK does not
approve of raising the minimum retirement age from 63 years to 65 years. The
board finds the pension system to function well and reminds us that work
careers have been extended as planned.
The Finnish government has asked labour market organizations to agree on how
to extend work careers. The common understanding should be reached by late
March when the government handles the budgetary framework for the coming
Purchaser-provider model contains serious risks to services
JHL (13.02.2012 - Juhani Artto)
Within municipalities, use of the so called purchaser-provider model in
services to citizens is proving to be problematic, Teija Asara-Laaksonen
said last week
in Hämeenlinna. She is the Vice-President of the Trade Union for the Public
and Welfare Sectors. The model in question serves to separate or divide the
organizing of services from the actual provision of these services.
Under current legislation municipalities are mandated to organize a wide
variety of services, especially in the health, social and educational
sectors. When applying the purchaser-provider model municipalities outsource
Municipal reform needs support of municipal employees
JHL (10.02.2012 - Juhani Artto)
The profound and radical municipal reform plans envisaged by the government
cannot succeed without the support of municipal
employees, the board of the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare
Sectors JHL, made clear on Thursday. Genuine cooperation between the
employer side and
employees is one of the preconditions for establishing this support.
Any efforts to harmonise wages and salaries in municipalities, which are to
must be negotiated in good faith and the necessary resources for
harmonization must be made available. Also, different personnel sectors must
equally and working conditions have to be developed and improved. These are
among the altogether eight preconditions for employee support of the
reform listed by JHL’s board.
German and Finnish unions fight against cuts at Nokia Siemens
(09.02.2012 - link to the web site of Int. Metalworkers' Federation)
Personnel have much to give when it comes to municipal reform
JHL (09.02.2012 - Juhani Artto)
On Wednesday, a big step forward was taken towards comprehensive municipal
when a task force, made up of civil servants, published its analysis and proposals.
According to the task force the number of municipalities should be reduced -
by amalgamations - to a maximum of 70 from the present 336.
The most crucial thing in this reform is not the number of municipalities
the safeguarding of services, says Jarkko Eloranta, the President of the
Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors.
"Therefore it is vital that the personnel are allowed to play an important
role in the reform process."
STTK: Nokia has to bear economic responsibility for the dismissed
Nokia's announcement that it was axing about thousand jobs is a direct
deathblow to the mobile telephone assembly industry in Finland, says the
Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK.
"The information Nokia published on February 8 forces us to find some means
for preserving the competitiveness of Finnish industry in the international
market", states STTK's expert in industrial policy, Antti Aarnio.
"Finland has to work out a strategy on how to develop industrial structures
and policies. There is need that people can trust and believe in the ability of
industry to employ people in the future."
Nokia to halt assembly at Salo plant
(08.02.2012 - link to the web site of Yle News)
STTK's Sund: OECD's diagnosis of Finland is correct and remedies
offered are proper in the main
OECD published its country report* on Finland on February 7. Its main
message is similar to the analysis of the Finnish Confederation of
Professionals STTK on the state of the Finnish economy. The challenges
facing those steering economic policy are primarily in how to secure longer
term growth. The financial crisis that began in 2008 has resulted in serious
damage to productivity development. It is very important to repair this
"Finland has good reasons to balance its State budget also in the short
term. However, it is decisive to carry out structural changes that have a
longer term impact", says STTK's economic policy expert Ralf Sund.
*Finland 2012, overview, OECD 07.02.2012 (a 33-page pdf-file)
signs agreement with protection union in Mexico
(06.02.2012 - link to the web site of Int. Metalworkers' Federation)
flexibility in working conditions act as an incentive
to continue working
Helsinki (06.02.2012 - Heikki Jokinen) The discussion on the proper
retirement age is ongoing in Finland, as it is also in many other European
countries. Employer organisations are in favour of raising the minimum
age, which is now 63.
A new study, published by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health,
offers some useful suggestions on how to encourage employees to remain
working life. The study suggests that employers should take the individual
wishes and situation of wage and salary earners better into account.
Well-being at work and managerial skills should be improved.
STTK urges the
well-to-do to bear their share of rising taxes
The government of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen is preparing measures to
balance the State budget. Expenditure is to be cut and taxes raised.
The original goal for the entire 4-year Parliamentary term was to save EUR
2.5 billion, but Raimo Sailas, the Secretary of State at the Ministry of
Finance, insists that savings must now be tripled to EUR 7.5 billion.
Leila Kostiainen, the Secretary General of the Finnish Confederation of
Professionals STTK, argues strenuously that the cuts must be made in a fair
manner and tax rises must be targeted even-handedly. She reminds us that in
the last two decades the income gap has risen significantly.
Estonian builders trafficked to Finland
(26.01.2012 - link to the web site of Yle News)
High Court's decision improves the status of agency labour
Helsinki (25.01.2012 - Juhani Artto) On Tuesday the High Court made a
decision that clearly improves the status of agency labour, says Katarina
Murto, a bargaining expert at the union confederation SAK.
The decision rejects the legality of the common practice of manpower
agencies to make fixed-term employment agreements based on open-ended
assignments procured from user companies.
The High Court decision upholds the principle, written into the
legislation, that fixed-term employment agreements can be made only in cases
where the employee is needed only for a certain or specific period of time.
In the case,
now settled by the High Court, the need was deemed to be open-ended at the
employment agreement was signed.
Minister sees good employment prospects for municipal employees
JHL (23.01.2012 - Juhani Artto)
There are plenty of job opportunities, now and especially in the future, in
the municipal sector. This is the core message of Henna Virkkunen, the
Minister of Public Administration and Local Government, in her interview
Motiivi, the magazine of the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors
JHL. A third of the current municipal personnel will retire by 2020 and with
the population ageing rapidly this clearly makes for more demand in terms of
health and social
services, she argues.
With this assurance Virkkunen wants to allay any fears municipal employees
may have towards the profound restructuring of the network of
municipalities now underway by the government of Prime Minister Jyrki
Journalists appreciate open, reliable and reachable labour market leaders
Helsinki (20.01.2012 - Juhani Artto) What kind of experiences have
journalists had, in the course of their work, when dealing with unions and
their leaders? And
what kind of qualities do journalists appreciate when working with union
A recent survey throws some light on these matters. The replies from 178
journalists, working at various levels and in various sectors of media
organizations, leave no doubt as to what journalists appreciate when it
comes to the unions' engagement with
the media. The most important qualities are -in this order- promptness,
openness, reliability, availability, willingness to engage, and being
up-to-date with the issues at hand.
"Shortage" of low-paid part-time workers
(20.01.2012 - link to the web site of Service Union United PAM)
SASK has multiplied its reach during its first 25 years of action
Helsinki (17.01.2012 - Juhani Artto) The Trade Union Solidarity Centre of
Finland SASK recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. I believe that it is
safe to say that the organization has far exceeded the expectations of
the some 40 union representatives who participated in the founding meeting
of SASK on 5 November 1986.
A short summary of SASK's development demonstrates why such a claim is
justified. Its work has significantly expanded and developed when measured
all essential criteria.
JHL wins landmark case in relation to fixed-term employment
JHL (12.01.2012 - Juhani Artto)
The Supreme Court ruled in favour of
the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL) in a highly
significant case on Wednesday. The dispute
concerned the use of fixed-term employment in a job that was financed by the
Structural Fund appropriations that were allocated annually to the
According to the Supreme Court, this form of financing does not justify the
use of fixed-term employment contracts when the tasks involved were of a
Presidential elections in Finland:
paraphernalia are mostly made in Far East
Helsinki (05.01.2012 - Heikki
Jokinen) Almost all of the eight candidates in the Finnish presidential
elections, which will take place on January 22nd 2012, have ordered their
campaign gift products from abroad, reports the Industrial Union TEAM. The
campaign pins, mugs, t-shirts, scarves, chocolate and other products are
mainly made in the Far East or in some cases in the other European
countries, TEAM discovered. Print work is more often than not done in
Finland. The chairman of TEAM Timo Vallittu reminds us that employment in
Finland is to a large extent determined by the purchasing decisions of
individuals and organisations. "Small decisions have a major impact on
employment. Business gifts employ especially small companies and are