Finnish Unions Create New Industrial Union

Three Finnish trade unions have come together to create a new union – the Finnish Industrial Union.

The merger was initially repoerted on this site in December 2016.

The industrial and general union TEAM, the Metal Workers’ Union and the Woodworkers’ Union have joined together and created the new union.

The unions say the reason behind the merger is to ensure that the voice of manufacturing/industrial workers will continue to be heard.

Attacks on unions by the Government and employers in Finland have been growing and the unions see creating a powerful manufacturing/industrial union union as a way of fighting back.

The new union will represent 75 per cent of workers predominantly involved in Finland’s export sector – putting them stronger position when it comes to collective bargaining.

Union density in Finland is still high – but the three unions between them, have lost a total of 35,000 members since 2005. The focus of the new union will be organising work places and tackling the growth of digital technology.

A fourth union, the papermakers union Paperlitto who were initially involved in the talks withdrew. However, a senior Finnish union official to me it is expected they will join with the new union once it is established.

The new union will begin operating at the beginning of 2018. With 226,000 members it will be the second largest trade union in Finland.

Each of the unions currently has their own separate unemployment fund.

These will also merge and the new joint unemployment fund is set to commence in January 2018.

The Finnish Industrial Union will keep all the 33 collective agreements the three unions have now. Collective bargaining will be organised into four sectors: chemicals, technology, wood products and special branches.

The number of local branches in the new Union will be 715. In 2015 the three Unions collected a total of 47.8 million euro in union subscriptions.

The name of the new Union in Finnish is Teollisuusliitto and in Swedish Industrifacket.

The union will have two official languages, Finnish and Swedish. Finland has a Swedish speaking minority of around five per cent of population.

The first joint Congress of the Finnish Industrial Union will take place at the end of November this year.

It will elect the 83 member union council, union president, three vice presidents and the union board.

The new president will be Riku Aalto, the President of the Metal Workers’ Union.

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What Is Really Happenning In Venezuela – Watch Here.

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Labour’s Workers Charter

At last a radical employment rights programme set out by the Labour Party – can anyone disagree with these proposals?


  • Give all workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent – so that all workers have the same rights and protections whatever kind of job they have.
  • Ban zero hours contracts – so that every worker gets a guaranteed number of hours each week.
  • Ensure that any employer wishing to recruit labour from abroad does not undercut workers at home – because it causes divisions when one workforce is used against another.
  • Repeal the Trade Union Act and roll out sectoral collective bargaining – because the most effective way to maintain good rights at work is through a trade union.
  • Guarantee trade unions a right to access workplaces – so that unions can speak to members and potential members.
  • Introduce four new Bank Holidays – we’ll bring our country together with new holidays to mark our four national patron saints’ days, so that workers in Britain get the same proper breaks as in other countries.
  • Raise the minimum wage to the level of the living wage (expected to be at least £10 per hour by 2020) – so that no one in work gets poverty pay.
  • End the public sector pay cap – because public sector wages have fallen and our public sector workers deserve a pay rise.
  • Amend the takeover code to ensure every takeover proposal has a clear plan in place to protect workers and pensioners – because workers shouldn’t suffer when a company is sold.
  • Roll out maximum pay ratios – of 20:1 in the public sector and companies bidding for public contracts – because it cannot be right that wages at the top keep rising while everyone else’s stagnates.
  • Ban unpaid internships – because it’s not fair for some to get a leg up when others can’t afford to.
  • Enforce all workers’ rights to trade union representation at work – so that all workers can be supported when negotiating with their employer.
  • Abolish employment tribunal fees – so that people have access to justice.
  • Double paid paternity leave to four weeks and increase paternity pay – because fathers are parents too and deserve to spend more time with their new babies.
  • Strengthen protections for women against unfair redundancy – because no one should be penalised for having children.
  • Hold a public inquiry into blacklisting – to ensure that blacklisting truly becomes and remains a thing of the past.
  • Give equalities reps statutory rights – so they have time to protect workers from discrimination.
  • Reinstate protection against third party harassment – because everyone deserves to be safe at work
  • Use public spending power to drive up standards, including only awarding public contracts to companies which recognise trade unions.
  • Introduce a civil enforcement system to ensure compliance with gender pay auditing– so that all workers have fair access to employment and promotion opportunities and are treated fairly at work.


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Support US Car Workers Fighting For Union Recogntion

United Auto Workers (the US car workers union) and their members  at Local 42 in Chattanooga, Tennessee have been locked in a battle with Volkswagen for the right to union recognition and collective bargaining.

Despite a December 2015 election victory – when skilled trades workers voted in favour of being represented by the UAW at Volkswagen – and a September 2016 NLRB ruling that ordered Volkswagen to the bargaining table, the company still refuses to negotiate with UAW.

Volkwagen recognise unions in Germany (the IG Metall), in the UK (Bentley in Crewe) and in many other countries.

For months, Volkswagen has used every stalling tactic available to avoid recognising US workers’ right to form a union and negotiate a contract.

Unite union reps from the automotive sector recently visted the Volkswagen site in Chatanooga as part of an international delegation aimed to forcing VW to recognise the UAW at the plant.

SumOfUs, a group of over 12 million people across the globe who are committed to ‘people over profits’ has a new petition calling on Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller to stop the stalling tactics and meet with UAW to negotiate a contract.

Unite is asking you to stand in solidarity with UAW members in Chattanooga and millions of supporters around the world.

Sign the petition now and tell Volkswagen to put an end to the stalling tactics.


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Brexit, UK Automotive and Implications For Industrial Policy

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United Steelworkers Convention 2017 – Len McCluskey

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United Steelworkers Convention 2017 – Tony Burke

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United Steelworkers Convention 2017 – Free Trade

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United Steelworkers Convention 2017 – Power Of Unity

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McCluskey demolishes Jack Dromey MP as an ‘Olympic Sized Self Publicist’

Unite’s Len McCluskey demolishes Jack Dromey MP as an ‘Olympic Sized Self Publicist’ and reveals far from ‘saving the car industry’ Gerard Coyne has never set foot in JLR.

 Speaking recently to shop stewards and members at Unite’s biggest branch – Jaguar Land Rover in Solihull – I was told an extraordinary thing.

In all the years that Gerard Coyne, my opponent in the election for Unite general secretary, has been Unite’s West Midlands regional secretary, he has set foot just once in their workplace.

It was something of a surprise therefore to read the claim of my former colleague Jack Dromey who, in another extraordinary intervention by a West Midlands MP in this election was giving his support to Mr Coyne, that my challenger takes credit for stopping the collapse of motor manufacturing in the Midlands.

Tony Woodley, our general secretary at the time of the Rover crisis in 2005, tells me he can’t remember Gerard playing any part at all in the campaign to save jobs.

 If Gerard had then I would have thought that such an achievement would have won him the backing of Unite branches across the automotive sector here, and elsewhere in the UK.

Yet all of JLR’s Midlands branches support me, along with BMW in Cowley, Ford in Daventry, and all nominating auto branches across the country.

Their backing demonstrates my determination to secure a future for those working in an industry that faces many challenges, including a hard Brexit and automation, and that our auto members recognise Unite needs a general secretary who understands these challenges and is prepared to support them by working with the government and with employers to create decent jobs, maintain our place as a world-class industry and ensure the voice of a highly skilled and dedicated workforce is heard loud and clear.

Jack has tried hard in his article to give Gerard an industrial profile that might shape up to mine. But, like Jack, Gerard has never worked in industry. He joined Unite after working at Sainsbury’s on Saturdays.

Perhaps that lack of industrial experience is why he also failed to secure the nomination of the Unite branch at the iconic Cadbury factory.

 Yet even when trying to praise Gerard, Jack makes it all about himself and his own record. He really is an olympic-class self-publicist.

What he doesn’t say about that record is that he was twice rejected by the union’s membership when he ran for general secretary. This gives him little to impart on how to give effective leadership – the members clearly did not want him.

The first time he stood he was trying to unseat from office Britain’s first black general secretary and fellow Brummie Bill Morris – now Lord Morris of Handsworth. So much for the equality he claims to champion.

Bill had, like me, worked in industry and been a shop steward before becoming a union official – he in the car industry, me on the docks.

Jack Dromey invokes the memory and words of the great Jack Jones in his attack on me.

Jack Jones wasn’t just a hero to me, but a dear friend. He would be appalled at how Jack Dromey is using his good name to promote a candidate whose campaign has been built on smearing Unite.

 He would have been aghast at how Gerard’s campaign attempted to disrupt Unite’s landmark auto industry conference held in Birmingham recently, where the future of the automotive sector, and therefore Unite members’ jobs, was being discussed.

Worse, Gerard’s campaign is now apparently being supported by the far-right English Defence League. A prominent member of the EDL has been giving out Coyne campaign material outside Vauxhall’s Ellsemere Port plant.

If Jack Dromey really wanted to walk in Jack Jones’ shoes, he would withdraw his support for Coyne now, and distance himself from his dirty tricks campaign.

For while Jack and the Coyne campaign continue to sling mud and drag the great name of this union and its members into the gutter, I have been getting on with the day job.

I was with Unite members in Hams Hall as they voted in droves to defend their retirement savings from BMW’s pensions pinching. They don’t want their union under the thumb of politicians and submissive when faced with bad bosses.
They want a leader with mettle, who will be with them all the way.

So I will continue to fight for Unite members’ jobs, their pay and conditions, for investment in their industries, for quality apprenticeships and skills and against the rise of insecure working, including zero hour and one hour contracts, while leading from the front in campaigning for a better future for all our members, their families and their communities.

 Len McCluskey is General Secretary of Unite – from the Birmingham Post.


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