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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