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Trade Union News from Finland
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 statistically representative sample was 1,000 and the individual interviews were made in March 2012. The survey was commissioned by the three trade union confederations SAK, STTK and Akava.

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 remain steady.

Support for organizing is high regardless of level of education, nature of work, domicile and political orientation. Slightly less support for organising could, however, be seen in the youngest age group (from 15 to 25 years of age). Only 24 per cent of the latter saw organising as "very necessary"
whereas in other age brackets this was around 50 per cent. But even in the youngest age group an overwhelming majority support organizing, as in addition to the "very necessary" replies, 65 per cent regard it as "rather necessary" to organize.

Among the motives for joining a union two factors stand out above all others. These are the earnings-based unemployment security and the job and working condition security, provided by the unions. Almost 90 per cent of the respondents mention these two factors as being behind their desire to join a union.

Despite the extremely high support for organizing the real organizing rate is not that high. Still in the 1990s the organizing rate was clearly above 70 per cent but since then it has slipped below 70 per cent. The gap between the real organizing rate and the large recognition for the need to organize can be explained by two important trends in modern working life, namely; the growing number of atypical jobs and the dispersion of jobs to smaller work places.