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President’s blog: People have again understood the value of trade union membership

– Päivi Niemi-Laine

When there are difficulties in reaching an agreement on the terms and conditions of employment, it highlights the significance of trade union membership, JHL president Päivi Niemi-Laine writes.

The numbers of trade union members have been decreasing while General unemployment fund YTK has attracted more members. Many have rushed to declare that the trade union movement is dead.

Surprise, surprise: Reports of the death are premature.

JHL membership interests people. During the beginning of the year, 10,000 new people have become union members. People want to make a difference in union affairs. Voting turnout in JHL’s elections rose. People may have noticed that membership in General unemployment fund YTK does not help in workplace conflicts.

More members, more strength

Right now, an intense debate is taking place in workplaces and in social media about the right to decent pay and fair terms and conditions of employment. A tough situation in the labour market highlights the significance of membership. People have realised that more members and more strength in numbers equal a stronger trade union movement.

JHL is the most affordable trade union of the welfare sectors.

However, not everyone is familiar with the Finnish labour market system. Not everyone knows that the terms and conditions of employment are mostly determined at negotiation tables, not in the Finnish Parliament. Not everyone knows that the right to holiday pay or a certain-sized salary is not based on law. It is based on generally binding collective agreements.

Someone will not take care of it

Someone will take care of it is the new catchphrase of JHL’s recent campaign. This is not a strange thought even in protection of interests. Sadly, in the municipal sector, the reply to this is Oh no they won’t. Because of the employer’s unwillingness to reach an agreement, we’ve been forced to speed up the collective agreement negotiations with strikes.

Remember that when you participate in a strike, your trade union will provide you with strike benefit. During this spring’s round of collective agreement negotiations, JHL’s strike benefit is EUR 160/day. After the strike is over, apply for the benefit through myJHL.

JHL is Finland’s most affordable trade union of the welfare sectors! Our membership fee is more inexpensive than the fee of many other trade unions. For the membership that brings many benefits and services, JHL members only pay one (1) per cent of their gross pay. In addition, we have a membership fee ceiling in use. This means that JHL membership costs a maximum of EUR 600 a year.

Active member participation in trade union activities makes us stronger. Join us!

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