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December 29 2011


How does our working life look like in 2025?

Working life as we know it is changing rapidly. People are finding 9 to 5 working days to be tuff and reducing their productivity. 9 to 5 working days originate from far back but are still reasonable due to the regular office hours.

Working life in 2025 is almost impossible to predict. What are our values, what does the next generation bring us, what sort of working day and technology do we have then?

Technology might be the key factor when pondering the future working life. Are we just sitting in our homes, doing everything through computing power. Everything being done by robots that we control through computers. I doubt it. That would be in no-ones interest.There will be a lot of automated actions done by computers, but in 2025 there will also be 8 billion people living on this planet. That requires some real muscle ache as well.

It is estimated that the amount of women in management professions are to increase drastically. Africa, Asia, Europe - all over the world women are more willing to take the stand and start managing. This brings a spice of it’s own when thinking about working life in 2025.

STTK has a big role in painting the sky of the Finnish working life in 2025. STTK is part of coming up with the frame-agreement - that determines how our working life will look like.

Working life in 2025 will most likely be a perfect mixture of augmented reality, remote working, locally produced food and a lot of community actions. Many tasks are done by cloud- driven communities by crowd sourcing techniques. Crowd sourcing is a big part of modern 2025 working life community and tasks are made a whole lot easier due to the huge brainpower being available on line.

Salaries and economy are closely tied to nature resources meaning that working life and the e conomy are in fact for the first time in harmony with nature. New technologies are working to produce a lot of solar energy which in 2025 is the main energy source.

Some rewarded remote managers are watching out for the employees (in Finnish: palkansaaja) from UK and the Finnish employees can have their lunch break by pausing the activities they are doing and playing some traditional Finnish lunch music while Indian engineers are correcting their work. See you soon 2025.

Tags: palkansaaja

More work

How does more work get created? Everyone is talking about creating new jobs and that hopes are high on the good amount of start-ups and new innovations that are entering the markets. Rovio is now employing hundreds of employees (in Finnish: palkansaaja) and every start-up should be like Rovio. Not to make any profit but employ great number of people and keep on growing.

How does more work get created in a company like Rovio? It gets created by need - naturally. The need comes from a company, its key personnel and investors finding certain tasks to be not in their field of expertise. These tasks need a person who is dedicated to the task and is willing to take this task and fulfil it to its greatest potential. When this person is found, the task becomes formally part of the business. It has to be included in the strategy and has to be considered when the next board meeting takes place.

Who decides when the empty whole should be filled? Well - usually it is the CEO that makes the decision, especially in smaller companies. But how it goes usually is that CEO creates a working round for the task so that all ‘free’ employees can try to manage the task and then when it is found to be too hard the hole is being filled with a new employee.

Who would really hire an Investment Director to a start-up. No-one.

Jobs are created through success. Success isn’t that easy, though. There should be more incentives for growth and success. A company should be able to try and fail without getting hammered. By taking a risk of hiring an employee to a start-up, the entrepreneur commits to a greater risk than he/she will, probably for the rest of the company’s lifeline. It is not only very, very expensive to hire an employee, it is also a big commitment. Labour unions and STTK are great places to find help and answers to questions regarding employment. Hiring an employee might be the best thing that happens to you and it also might be one of the worst things that happen to you. Either way you should always aim in creating more work because that is what is keeping our economy rolling.

Tags: palkansaaja

December 28 2011


Nobody is rich in Finland

At least everyone thinks that there are no wealthy people here. Why is this?

We have come to find that there is one problem: Finland`s greatest natural resource is envy. We envy rich people, we are somehow reluctant to accept good feedback, we don’t live in beautiful houses, we don’t drive super cars and most of all, we don’t tell neighbors how well we are doing.

Truth on the other hand is that we have extremely wealthy and rich people living in Finland. Few of them made their fortune by working, like Anssi Vanjoki, but most of them - well they used to make it out of technology and innovations within. The sad part is that most of the money has been flowing back to technological innovations and R&D. When it should have been going to social innovations or service innovations.

Rovio is on everyone’s lips. Angry Birds is being played by most of the celebrities all the way in the USA and it just keeps growing. What makes Rovio and Angry Birds so special? It is the content created for Apple products. Apple created their products so that it would be as easy as possible to create attractive content for their devices. Rovio did just that, nothing more.

These days you hear these tech-millionaires screaming “We need more Rovio-type of companies in Finland.. forget Nokia” This is where we go wrong. Again. Rovio is a company whose success is based on creating an addictive, well done content for iPhone &and iPad – so actually we don’t need more “Rovio-type of companies”, we need more capital investments to seed-phase social innovations. We still need to focus on creating devices, yes, but we also need to start really focusing on content and service development. When we realize this and we can channel part of our capital investments to fund the social innovations, we will have a better working life - labour-unions (in Finnish: ay-liike) & STTK are happy. Who knows, in this case even the economy might kick in.

We have the knowledge, reputation, infrastructure and capital. All we need is a brave way to channel it and someone to lead the show.

Tags: ay-liike

December 27 2011


Productivity is Gone

Everyone is talking about productivity. It seems to be the new black when talking about working morales, business hours or even showing up at work vs. doing work from home.

Productivity and flexibility should not be mixed. Productivity is the indicator of the amount of actual result oriented work is being done by someone. That has got nothing to do with remote working or doing well at work. Of course, everything is related to each other. Usually people who are not feeling good at their workplaces tend to be unproductive, too.

Productivity is also being measured in a more serious way. In a way that indicates the dark years ahead. At the moment we are approximately 13% below the targets on productivity regarding EVA’s survey. This means almost 150 000 ”lost” work hours. Lack of productivity can always be seen in the profitability of companies. Productivity therefore reflects many parts of society and can even be seen affecting pensions. Something should be done. Biggest ‘firefighters’ here are the labor unions. STTK frame agreement did well and is steering our economy towards the right track again.

We should work our hard to get our export rolling again. The most important thing is to keep the Finnish costs relatively low, which was made possible for the next couple of years with the frame agreement. However, we should look at, for example, Germany where Angela Merkel managed to get the biggest companies and all the employees to agree on her frame agreement. We should maybe learn something from Angela.

Productivity is so much more than numbers. Productivity is the mental state of a human being. An employee (in Finnish: palkansaaja) finds it hard to be productive when under a constant pressure. Economic crisis may be the trigger for many employees to feel stressed and unsure about the future. All companies should invest in many fields when the economy starts sliding. One of the things should definitely be the people working for the company. The cost of first letting personnel go and then re-hiring when the economy kicks in is enormous. It also has a great impact on the atmosphere at work which reflects directly productivity.

Tags: palkansaaja

November 16 2011


Local economical crises should be prevented

While municipalities have been able to improve the efficiency of their services, at the same time the government has burden new responsibilities for municipal administrations and its worker (in Finnish, toimihenkilö). This has caused the situation that even municipalities are able to reduce their costs by making their services more efficient, their economical or economic (In Finnish talous) situation is getting worst due to these new responsibilities.

Productivity can be raised to the certain level, but that will not bring the solution for the municipal economical crisis. The solution is neither that functions are transferred to another producer. Tax-funded public services are most likely secure the welfare of citizens in different areas equally. Privately produced services should be used only to supplement the already operating services.

The chairman of Jyty, the Finnish federation of public and private sector employees (in Finnish: palkansaaja), has warned that local government are heading in crisis, which will endanger basic welfare services. There will be most probably heavy shutdowns in many locations.

As the government program states, the municipal policy must be guaranteed equal and quality services throughout the country. The government should now break the old role and together with the municipalities find the ways to address gaps in current services and development the existing resources. It will be challenging, but it might be the only way to ensure the services.

November 15 2011


Trade union’s view for the new governmental program

According to STTK, one of the three trade union (in Finnish: ay-liike) confederations in Finland, the key priorities of the new government program are related to fiscal sustainability of national economy and instability caused by euro-zone countries.

STTK is happy with the government’s decisions not to tighten the income taxation of salary earnings. It is the right signal in terms of the employment and purchasing power, and correlates with the goals of STTK. Tax solutions related to the capital taxation are justified by the world economical situation.

However, securing the tax income for the government is crucial in order to keep health facilities and other vital municipal services on a high level of quality and comprehensive manner to all citizens. At the same time, more security should be provided to employers working in these fields: that is essential in terms of employment.

The main task of the current government is, according to STTK, to boost the economic growth and employment. Effective actions to lessen youth and long-term unemployment are necessary. Also the resources for active labor market policies must be enabled. Government should take measures to extend working lives, improve young people's attachment to work, and to prevent work related disabilities.

One of the publicly visible actions in governmental program is to campaign against the grey economy (In Finnish talous). STTK will participate on this campaign also. The campaign will be visible in outdoor advertisements, in police cars and on the Internet in the autumn 2012.

Basic unemployment allowance and the labor market will rise by a hundred dollars per month beginning of next year. The increase also reflects in the earnings-related allowances. This is the government’s way to reduce social inequalities, and therefore is fully supported.

According to STTK, the annual savings and corridor negotiations agreed will ensure a sustainable economic policy. The global economy and the development of the European Union require agility in decision-making.


Municipal consolidations from employer’s side

The consolidation of municipalities in Finland is starting to be everyday news. From big to small, every municipality seems to find a reason to join with neighboring municipalities. Mostly the reason is because savings are seen in merging the municipal administrations, but what will happen to the municipality administrative worker (in Finnish, toimihenkilö) during those consolidations?

At 2005, the government of Finland launched the Best Project (Paras-projekti). The aim of the project was to reform the municipal service structure. Consolidations of municipalities were recognized part of this program. The personnel of municipalities agreed on this project and supported it, which granted them the five year protection against dismissal in the case of any consolidation of municipalities.

The Best Project will end in 2012, but obviously consolidations of municipalities will still happen after that. The trade union of municipal workers has argued that it would be even to have the same five year protection against dismissal also in the consolidations happening after the 2012.

As in any occupation, it is crucial that the job security is maintained. Municipal employment issues are negotiated together with employees and employers' organization, and it is essential that the employees (in Finnish: palkansaaja) remain in spite of the so-called new arrangements.

The other subject of negotiations in the moment of consolidation of municipalities is the salary. When two or more municipalities are combined, the salary differences of similar positions in different municipalities might be considerable. In these cases, the combined municipalities must agree on the harmonization of wages, and the harmonization cannot take a very long time. The same applies to differences in personal knowledge-based bonus systems: they should be co-ordinated.

November 10 2011


Public economy at the times of uncertainty

Economy is an interesting topic, and when it comes to public economy, everyone, and I do mean everyone, seems to have an opinion of how the government money should be used.

The current moment is alarming. Governments in Europe are taking more and more debt in order to keep public services available. Some like Greece are sinking under their depth, but even Finland, which public economy has been well taken care for, there is a need to get more debt for supporting government’s services.

The most common way for any government to react in this situation is to take more debt or make cuttings in public sector services. These both might not be the most recommended things to do in theuncertain economicsituation. Public sector cutscan reducedomestic demand andweakenemployment possibilities. More debt will just deepen the economic situation of the country and healing will take even more time.

Many specialists do not see the cuts of public services as the solution for this situation. For example STTK, one of the three trade union (in Finnish: ay-liike) confederations in Finland, have set the statement where they argue that public sector should stop taking more debt; instead, government shouldvigorouslybuilda longer-termprogram, with the aim of balancing the public economy, as well aspromoting growth and employment. This governmental programshould include thelabor market solution that could increase stability and predictability ofthe working lifeand have concrete action points for extending careersin allits variousstages.

There are a couple of things making these goals hard to reach. For example extending careers is not in the hands of government only: the studies have shown that most problematic for the aims to extend careers are the attitudes of employers. But there are issues the government can straightforwardly affect, like delays thecuttings of public sectorand delays of tax increases. If these two would be done, it will supportdomestic employmentand economic growthin a situation whereeconomic growthseems to bewaning. These would also ensure the citizens’ purchasing power, businesscompetitiveness and employment.

Tags: ay-linke

November 09 2011


The marriage between work and know-how

The requirements of working life (in Finnish, työelämä) have changed drastically over the last twenty years. Previously long term engagement with one employee was valued and supported by the employee and employer; nowadays knowhow and continuous development at work are preferred.

This change in the attitude is strongly related to changes in word economy and world market. The technological development has been rapid, and it has created new economic opportunities but also destroyed old ones. The world has transformed from local to global, which has updated the competition at the global level. In this new environment, old skills and old ways to do things need to be re-evaluated.

The change can be seen concentrically in constant layoffs and continuing changes in business plans. For employers, who became accustomed to old ways valuing the long term employee-employer relationship, this new model of running the business have come as a surprise. There are many sad stories of employers getting fired and losing all the meaning in their life. Probably the saddest thing for them is the fact that this trend is here to stay. In the world changing this fast nobody can unfortunately to expect, that one education and one skill will carry through the whole career. The modern employer must study and update his skills all the time.

Unfortunately, many times the employee expects that this development and education is done in employer’s free time and by his own will. Not many employers provide time for their employees to research and development their knowhow. This probably is also due to the fast changes: even the employer has no time to think what it really takes to survive in this changing word.

Many Finnish trade unions have brought up this question and enrolled it to their agenda. Trade unions have long perspective to working life in Finland, and they see the development of employer’s knowhow crucial for the whole Finnish economy. STTK, one of the three trade union confederations in Finland founded in 1946, has mentioned that their new goal is to create the new marriage between work and knowhow, whereas the old marriage was between work and well-being.

The changing world requires new ways to think, for employers, employees and trade unions. The change is never easy, but the only way is to survive.


STTK supports jobs and growth strategy

The Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK, one of the three trade union confederations in Finland, calls for governmental level agenda for sustainable economic growth and employment. These two are seen vital in order to ensure labor market’s (in Finnish, työmarkkinat) sustainability and functionality.

The central task of this agenda should be to define the economic priorities, and to support the national level competitiveness of companies and purchasing power of wage earners. The program should last for at least the entire life cycle of the current government.

Finnish trade unions have prepared together their agenda for government negations. This agenda includes actions that are meant to response the challenges of the current socio-economic situation. To pick one of the topics as an example, extension of working lives are in the agenda.

In addition to this, all trade unions see that it is reasonable to try to calm the working environment. Constant changes cause uncertainty and feelings of insecure, which is not supporting the ideas of growth. Employers and unions should first find a consensus on how to develop this peace in work environment. In the middle of all structural changes it is necessary to look the causes of any industrial conflicts with new approach. Without this the system is in danger zone.

November 04 2011


STTK survey 2011: a lack in employee representatives hinders local negotiations

According to a survey conducted by STTK, the Finnish Confederation of Salaried Employees, there is no lack of openings for employee (in Finnish: palkansaaja) representatives. Only 18 percent of respondents to the survey state that they would be prepared to take on employee representative responsibilities. At the same time, 90 percent of respondents that already are employee representatives state that they would be prepared to continue with such tasks. The Secretary General of STTK, Leila Kostiainen, says that the survey shows that the overall situation with employee representatives at workplaces is rather good with 80 percent of respondents stating that there is an employee representative or similar person at their company.

What worries Kostiainen, though, is that 16 percent have answered that there is no employee representative at their company. In the private sector, nearly every fourth workplace is missing such a position. Additionally, only about half of the respondents say that the work done by trade unions to develop and better salaries, working hours and the standard of working is visible at their company. Kostiainen raises the question of how these matters are agreed upon at such companies. STTK has emphasized that local negotiations can succeed only if both negotiating sides are balanced.

It’s difficult to extend local negotiations if there’s a lack of employee representatives or if they are not given the opportunity to do their work properly, states Kostiainen. According to the survey men, who represent 24 percent of the respondents, are more willing to be employee (in Finnish: palkansaaja) representatives than women, who represent 16 percent of the respondents. Young people are slightly more willing than people over 50 years of age. The size of a company or the sector the company is in does not seem to have an impact on whether a person is willing to be an employee representative or not.


Survey on European working hours provides input in Finnish discussion

Finnish confederate trade unions feel it is important to include international and European perspectives in discussion about working hours. There are obvious international trends in working hours and arrangements, and it is beneficial to recognize Finland’s situation in comparison to other countries. For this reason, confederate trade unions have arranged a workshop on the topic of working hours to look into Finnish and European working hours.

At the seminar, the Research Director of Eurofond, Greet Vermeylen, comprehensively presented the results for Finland and other EU member countries from the survey conducted by the foundation. The central sources of information for the foundation are the surveys it conducts: the European standard of living survey, the European standard of working survey and the corporate survey.

In the survey conducted by the foundation, topics that were covered were the length of working days, the different types of work time arrangements and how commonly used they each are, the use of work time, and how people balance work and private life. During the last decade, work times have diversified throughout Europe and also in Finland. At the same time, there are huge differences between different countries which are the result of both labor (in Finnish: työelämä) markets and cultural differences.

The information derived from the survey is a result of answers provided by citizens and employees, corporate human resources directors and employee (in Finnish: palkansaaja) representatives.

November 03 2011


Trade unions participating “gray economy – black future” campaign

The police of Finland has started new campaign named “gray economy – black future” that encouragesyoung peopleto reflect on thegray economyand itsimpact ontheir lives. The campaign aims tomake it clear thateach of us isthe right person tocombat against the gray economy. Finnish trade unions are participating the campaign as well.

The gray economy means that employer neglects the payments of statutory duties and social fees of employees (in Finnish: palkansaaja). Gray economy is also the abuse of social benefits, buying and selling pirate products, and in business, leaving the taxes and other statutory payments to be paid.

The campaign states that gray and black economy damage to both you and the society as a whole. When some of us don’t pay taxes and neglects other obligations, the collected tax revenue is considerably smaller. This will increase taxes and makes managing of publicly funded services harder, including street and road maintenance, health services, and school activities.

One of the campaign’s idea is to clarify, how the gray economy will affect to employee. Many young persons might not know, that undeclared work will not accrue a pension, or that the employer has not insured the workers against accidents. In gray economy, the sickness benefit and unemployment compensation are unknown.

The campaign states that everydaychoices aremany timesmore powerfulerodingthe gray economythanactionsagainst criminalactions alreadytaken place. The campaign has an informative web page, where quizzes about the subject can be made and a detective story to be read among the accurate info about the subject. There will be ads in radio and outdoorcommercials promoting the campaign; thepolice’s and custom’s cars will be also labeled on thetheme for the campaign time.

In addition tothe Finnish Police force, participants of the campaign are the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry ofSocialAffairs and Health, the Ministry of Justice, Customs of Finland, Finnish Tax Administration, several trade unions like AKAVA, EK, SAK, STTK, PAM and Pardia, the Central Pension Security Institute of Finland, the Food SafetyAuthority of Finland Evira, the Financial SectorFederation of Finland, RT, the Finnish Transport and Logistics Federation SKAL, Federation of Finnish Enterprises, and Federal of Electrical andTelecommunications ContractorsSTUL.

Tags: palkansaaja

Trade union want to have shorter strike notification times

The Finnish trade union Pro wants to have shorter strike notification times to Finland. Currently, the notification time in Finland is 14 days, whereas in EU it is 3 days and in seven member countries of EU, the notification time does not exist. Finland has the tightest notification times in European labor market (in Finnish, työmarkkina) standard.

Pro wants to have either the notification period to be reduced to a fair condition, or then have big sanctions to employers when they violate the employees’ right to strike. According to Pro, it is hard to follow 14 days notification time, since employers have used this time to infringe the right to strike. Pro members have been pressured to leave the union, to move upper positions and train outsiders to do their tasks.

For example Forest industries federation has repeatedly accused the staff strikes illegal. The collective agreement of paper industry officials expired on 04/01/2011. After that strikes have been legal. The strikes have enormous affect on companies. Problems pile up day by day, and to strike is more and more expensive for the employers. Due to shortage on the staff and the errors made by unqualified personnel start to accumulate, which is reflected to the quality of work.

According to Pro, in the moment of strike the employers have transferred the work abroad, brought person from abroad to work in Finland, and invited the summer workers to do the job of people on strike. The worst is, however, to put the pressure on individual officers mentally during the 14 days notification period.

Tags: työmarkkina

October 13 2011


Finnish willing to increase the social services fees of persons with good income

According to the study of Jyty, the federation of public and private sector employees representing officers (in Finnish,toimihenkilö) and employees at the service of municipalities and the church, a large part of the Finnish population is willing to increase municipal charges for persons with good income. In order to secure the municipal infrastructure and welfare services, nearly a third of Finnish would allow the additional paid services and an increase in municipal taxes.

The majority of Finns agrees that the basic social and welfare services may be supplemented by purchasing services from the private sector where necessary. There is a strong intention, however, to keep the services as part of the municipal service production.

The study also shows, that according to the public opinion, municipal savings should exclude school and health services, and service points should not be eliminated. Other service reductions, layoffs of the staff as well as making a debt in order to support municipal economy (in Finnish, talous) are not supported.

Based on the study, the reductions should be applied to the citizens' juries and other elected political positions. Nearly half of the respondents support municipal merging projects. Other ways to save money are seen in postponing construction works and other big investments.

One-third of the respondents are ready to increase municipal taxes. 62 percent of the respondents, however, consider that the social service and user charges should be staggered so that persons with better earnings would pay more of the services.

The study also investigated the appropriate retirement age and service sector employers' images. On average, Finns think they will stay at working life until they are 64-years old. Differences in occupation, place of residence and the political view are relatively small within this question. The best image of the employers is in the private employers.

The results of the survey shows that social services produced by municipal are valued and citizens are ready to support them heavily in order to secure the services. It would be important also to boost the image of municipal employer.

This study, produced by Jyty, examined public attitudes towards education and welfare services. The survey was carried out by TNS Gallup, which interviewed nearly 5 000 persons in Finnish at 2011. The margin of error of the study was 1.3 percentage in both directions.


Co-operation needed for the political state in Finland

The traditional political map formed again in last government election in Finland. The new political map can make upcoming negotiations of the employment collective agreement difficult. These negotiations held between the trade unions (in Finnish, ay-liike) and employers’ representative.

Finland's challenges before the elections were the same as now: a growth strategy at the national level must be created, employment increased, social exclusion have to be fight against, solutions to the problems of the state economy (in Finnish, talous)found, reform of taxation completed, public services secured and longer career paths supported. Finland should also have an EU policy that is credible.

In order to fulfill these great challenges, seamless co-operation between government and social organizations is needed. In the changing circumstances all parties should find ways to collaborate. Inability to cooperate eats the trade unions’ influence. However, there are problems between employers 'and employees' organizations, but also among trade unions.

For example STTK's chairman estimates that employers have been able to improve internal coordination better than the wage-earners side. In employees' side, each sector has managed lobbying on its own with no common goal. Cooperation has been much talked about, but little is to be seen.

The ability to cooperate is the only way to succeed in the long run. Otherwise, the employers’ side will set the rules, and trade unions can nothing but agree.

October 11 2011


The salary increase agreed for social welfare and health employees in Finland do not occur

TEHY, the Finnish trade union (in Finnish, ay-liike) representing qualified health care professionals, social workers and students of these professions in both the private and the public sectors in Finland, signed an agreement with the employers’ representative on 2007. This contract is to lastuntil the endof the year 2011 and regulates the labor (in Finnish, työelämä) of social and health care areas.

In the agreement, TEHY and employers agreed about the increases to the social and health carestaffing salaries, if the amount of employees in the field will decrease. These increases arenottohappen, as the amount of social and health care workers has been raising. According to the StatisticsCenter of Finland, during the years 2006 to 2010 a bit less than 7000 new employment contracts have been signed in social and health care sector. This amount was stated also by the negotiation partners both from employees and employers side.

In the last trade union negotiations, the salary increases of social and health care professionals were analyzed thoroughly and included in the four-year agreement. If thenumber of employeeswould have beenreduced, salary increases would have occurred for TEHY trade union members of the extra work donewith less resources.

The increase of employees in social and health care sectors means that more workforcehas beenreceivedinunits where there has been a need for personnel. According to TEHY, this increase of workforce has a positive effect on theirmembers'working conditionsand work well-being. The trade union members of municipal area also received an extra increase for their salary from the other agreements.

TEHY is one of the largest unions in Finland. Established in 1982, it has currently over 150,000 members. TEHY campaigns for improvements and development in the Finnish health and social care and wants to influence in the education and labor force policies. It negotiates and bargains the collective agreements of terms and conditions of work. Representing the interests of its members is the most important task of TEHY.


Fixed term work slows down the equal salary development of women

Fixed term employee contracts have many negative ramifications. They, for example, slow the development of equal wages for women, lead to the uncertainty of a livelihood, and in the worst case scenario affect an employee’s (in Finnish, palkansaaja) physical health.

Problems coming from fixed term employment contracts have the biggest impact on female and young personnel. The threat of unemployment in fixed term contracts is up to seven times higher than in a permanent job, which causes uncertainty. Fixed term employees might not belong to an occupational health system provided by an employer: the trade unions in Finland have proposed that occupational health services for the temporary workers should be protected by law. The base for the long career is created at young age. If in the early stages of employee’s career she or he is ill-treated and is not entitled to health care, it does not bode well for the well-being at work and career.

Fixed term employment contracts are a huge injustice in the public sector that is mainly occupied by women. In the last reform of the Employment Contracts Act there was an aim to improve the position of women in the labor market (in Finnish, työmarkkina). In the law-drafting of the attention was drawn to the criteria of so-called atypical forms of employment relations. Still, in practice, it is relatively easy to use short term contracts against the law. The use of fixed term employment contract is legally permitted only if certain criteria are met. Between permitted and prohibited situations there remains a gray area, where no actual reasons for the use of fixed term contract exist.

Studies have proven that the temporary fixed term contracts are used more in Finland than European average. Trade unions (in Finnish, ay-liike) believe that the employee protection referred in the law is often not realized because of the employee does not dare or does not want to jeopardize the potential work relation with the employer. Periodicity is thus described as a kind of continuous trial period, during which the following precedence is redeemed.

Anything that would equalize the fixed term and permanent work career should be supported in order to provide more healthy and certain situation.

October 10 2011


European Trade Union Confederation demands work, equality and fairness

Europeantrade unionsmet in May 2001 in Athens for the European TradeUnion ConfederationCongress. This meeting is held every four years; this year, the most important issues that were discussed in the congress were economical and employmentcrisismanagement.

The main demand from ETUC was to develop European labor (in Finnish, työmarkkina) to the direction which takes into account the employees and the social justice. Even the Europe is in the middle of economical crises, ETUC would like to see the ways of surviving that would combine both the employees (in Finnish, palkansaaja) well being and economical competitiveness.

The ETUChas not welcomedthe cuttingpolicy that has been managed by EuropeanCommission and practised by European governments.These trade unions believe that the current movementwillendanger thewages,public services andworkers' rights. The debate has been especially heated related to the freshinitiative thatwould imposewage andcollective bargainingunderthewatchful eye of European Commission.

Additional to the big discussion related to the economy, employment, and the regulation of markets, the topicsincluded following: labor mobility, sustainable development and social dialogue between employees and employers. The new secretary general, the secretariatand the government for ETUC were elected in the congressalso.

ETUCisthe highestdecision-making bodyof Europeantrade unionmovement,which determinesthe strategy for the employeepartiesand action planfor the coming years.

Founded in 1973,the ETUCconsists of 83Europeanconfederationsof workersfrom 36 countriesand 12sector-specificEuropeanUnion. The ETUCmember organizations are representing around 60million workers in Europe.


Guide to salary discussions for managers and employees published in Finland

Over the past two decades the equality of salary issues in Finland has become better. Prerequisites are good for the salary system that is considered fair but also encouraging for employees (in Finnish, toimihenkilö).

Less attention, however, is paid to the issues like how the desired salary system can be maintained, and how the whole salary system could work better for both employees’ and managers’ needs.

The Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK, together with Confederation of Finnish Industries EK, has published a new book “Salary Discussions in Finland - experiences and tips”. This guide is designed to offer information for salary discussions between managers, employees and employee representatives alike. Along with the experts from STTK and EK, the book includes results and point of views from Aalto University researchers, who have been studying the subject.

The salary discussion is a systematic and logical way to go through with the job performance and salary equivalence with every employee. Good salary discussions are held with agreed-upon rules of the game, and discussions should follow the same principles with every employee (in Finnish also, palkansaaja). In this book the idea of salary discussions and their practical implementation takes place through examples, research results and experience gathered from Finland.

Today many Finnish employees have good knowledge about different employee / employer discussions, for example about development talks or evaluation discussions. This guide can help clarify the relationship between these discussions and practical tips how to behave in these different discussions.

“The salary is a compensation for work done, source of income and appreciation measurement. From the organizational point of view, the wage is a key part of the reward package offered for the employee, a major cost factor, and great management tool. A well-designed reward package with a well-functioning salary and reward systems will have the impact to skilled personnel, namely to their retention and enthusiasm. Results from the successful salary system are shown as employees’ competence, good performance and the development of operations, “ summarizes Aarnio, one of the writers of the book.
Although the salary discussion is not suitable for all work sectors, this book will benefit anyone interested of salary issues, successful salary discussion and salary systems.

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