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JUHANI ARTTO
HOMEPAGE 2013

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Trade Union News from Finland
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 for increased productivity, he adds.

When trying to improve well-being at work various gimmicks may seem to work for a while but no sustainable development can be reached without long-term and dedicated work, Rinne stresses.

Majority are satisfied with the working life

Here are some of the most interesting concrete statistics to be garnered from the new report.

Two thirds of the respondents (68 per cent) say they are, in general terms, satisfied with their working life. An even higher proportion is satisfied with their working hours (75 per cent). And the percentage is also very high amongst those who appreciate their leisure time and holidays, when they are free from work matters (73 per cent). But only 43 per cent are satisfied with their salaries and 40 per cent say discrimination and favouritism occurs at their work places. One out of two claim they do not receive useful or encouraging feedback about their work.

Only a minority (46 per cent) regard their employers' investments in skills improvement as relevant. On average the respondents have spent 2.7 days per annum in training organized by their employers. This has remained unchanged for the last four years. Older employees are clearly given less training than younger employees. Very few employers financially assist their employees' own studies.

A majority (57 per cent) of the respondents say they have experienced a sense of being in a position to be able to influence their own work but only 42 per cent feel that they have been allowed to participate in the development work of the entire organization. Almost 56 per cent say that the values at their work places match or coincide with their own values.

Elements of the pay system have not materialised properly in the labour market among Pro's rank and file members. A third claim not to have had so called development discussions with their supervisors within the last 12 months. Almost half of the respondents (43 per cent) have no written description of their tasks and over half (58 per cent) work without a written assessment as to how demanding their tasks are. Three out of four (74 per cent) are not included in work places' training plans.

Half of the respondents have no opportunity to use or avail of a working hour bank and over half (54 per cent) are not allowed to telework.

Trust in union activism increasing

Regular, large-scale surveys constitute an essential part of Pro's agenda. The results of these surveys provide important information to the union's policy-makers on changes taking place at work places and among the rank and file members.

In the latest survey, one very positive reading for the union leadership and activists must be the figures that reveal increasing trust in union activism. Three years ago 58 per cent regarded union activity as "strong enough" and now 65 per cent of the respondents agreed with that assertion.

What is also positive is this: Almost two thirds (63 per cent) experience that a supportive and helpful spirit prevails at their work places.