In Finland the labor movement is an integral part of the society. Three out of every four employees belong to the trade union of their industry or occupation. There are almost one hundred trade unions with over two million members in a country of five million people.

Finnish legislation secures an employee's right to be a member of a trade union. This right cannot be restricted by any agreements.  

The main purposes of Finnish trade unions are to:

  • Safeguard and improve the benefits and rights of its members.  
  • Run unemployment funds and to provide earnings-related unemployment benefits. 
  • Negotiate on pay and other terms of employment on it’s members behalf. The resulting collective agreement for each industry sets out the minimum pay rates for the work that you do. This agreement also governs hours of work, sick pay, bonuses for overtime and shift work, and holiday entitlement.
  • Help resolve disputes concerning employment at the workplace. The elected shop steward at the workplace supports the employee and negotiates with the representative of the employer. If no solution is found the trade union provides a negotiator and negotiating assistance. If even that is insufficient, the union will take the matter either to labor court or to lower court depending on the subject. All this is free for the member of the trade union. 
  • Offer training organized by the union, publish a union magazine and provide insurance and other benefits for members.

The ABC of the Trade Union Movement
Finnwards: Trade unions in Finland
Membership in Trade Unions in Finland

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