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JUHANI ARTTO
HOMEPAGE 2013

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TRADE UNION NEWS
FROM FINLAND 1997-2013

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1997-2013

Trade Union News from Finland
FIOH's new survey:
Quality of 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.

The bad news is the increasing social inequality in health and in the well-being of working life. The number of people claiming disability pensions is alarmingly high and still growing. Unemployment has risen by 25 per cent in one year, which is a major waste of human resources.

Work is less tied to one place. The closest supervisor for one out of five works somewhere else which makes it more difficult to get feedback and help at work. Almost a quarter of those interviewed said they co-operate daily with people outside their own working place. Work or business contacts incline to be broader and more extensive now as work takes people in so many different directions, but relations with colleagues tend to remain shallow, thus providing less support at the base.

In spite of some degree of progress problems with working life well-being are still a cause for concern and continue to incur major expenses for society. The study estimates the cost at up to 41 billion euro a year which is more than a fifth of the GDP.

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