At least three trade unions will cut their membership dues from the beginning of the next year.
JHL, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors had already decided to cut dues from the current 1.38 per cent of taxable wage or salary to exactly one per cent. JHL will also introduce a cap on the union fee, 600 euro a year.
Jan Saarinen, JHL Director of finance says in the union press release that the union will compensate the loss of income from dues using the wealth the union has accumulated over the years. Services will not be cut.
The Industrial Union board unanimously proposed to their Union Council meeting at the end of November a similar move to one per cent due. At the moment the Industrial Union dues is 1.33 per cent of taxable income.
The Finnish Construction Trade Union did not only cut dues, it also changed the basis of the dues. Right now, the union dues is 1.49 per cent of income. From January on, the union members will pay a fixed sum of 25 euro a month regardless of their income. This means lower dues for practically all members.
The reasons for cutting the fees vary. The main idea is, however, to stop the slow trend of decreasing membership figures. Though the unions offer a wide variety of services, lower dues might encourage more people to join.
Another reason concerns especially – but not only – the construction worker’s union. For most of the employed Finns, employers collect the membership dues and transfer these to the unions. The practise is based on the collective agreements, where it is usually included.
But, regarding organised construction workers, about half of them pay their membership due themselves. Short time jobs and varying incomes are typical for construction work, making it difficult to count what is owed in dues by members. In this case, a fixed sum instead of a certain percentage is easier to pay.
Unions are facing a new situation with a number of companies in industry and forestry no longer willing to take part in national collective agreements. This might mean disruptions to the existing system whereby employers collect the union dues and transfer it to the union. So as an alternative, easy functioning systems to pay dues are needed.
All three union membership dues include the contribution to the unemployment fund. From the beginning of next year, a new amalgamated Open Unemployment Fund A-kassa will begin its operations.
Among some others, members of the Industrial Union and the Construction Trade Union will now join A-Kassa. The latter has a new membership structure, too. Instead of the traditional percentage of income, it has set a fixed 8 euro a month fee for all members.