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Trade Union News from Finland

JHL at the PSI World Congress:
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.”

Both in Finland and elsewhere the struggle for quality public services and opposition to outsourcing of public services remains at the top of the agenda, is how Heininen sums up the upshot of the Congress.

“In Durban the formidable extent of public sector union activity was accentuated. Activists coming from various circumstances broadly share common goals”, rejoices Vesa Isomöttönen, another JHL representative at the World Congress.

He is satisfied also with the struggle for basic union rights, such as organizing and collective bargaining rights, and is confident that these will continue to feature prominently among PSI’s core goals.

At the Congress speakers from many countries reported on violence against women. “It is a subject for debate in Finland, too, but not so strongly as at the Congress”, comments Päivi Lilleberg, a third JHL representative.

The role of young activists was also one of the topics. “Young people would like to participate directly in PSI’s decision making”, says Veikko Lehtonen who represented JHL at the PSI youth meeting held prior to the World Congress.