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Time to elect shop stewards

Shop stewards represent members of trade unions at the working place and offer invaluable assurance to employees. Many of these will be elected this Autumn and JHL, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors is now looking for candidates to fulfill this responsibility.

The role of a shop steward is crucial when it comes to defending the rights of employees. He or she is the first person to contact if work-related problems should arise.

The main task of a shop steward is to see that the collective agreement is followed and that  all members are getting what the agreement stipulates, like the right salary, overtime pay and holidays.

The shop steward negotiates, makes agreements, mediates and passes on information between employees and employer.

A shop steward is elected by the JHL local club or in a meeting organised at the working place. If there are more than one candidates, there may be a ballot. Only the JHL members concerned can participate in the elections.

The term of a shop steward is from two to four years.

As the task can create friction with the employer, the collective agreements give a special employment protection for a shop steward. It is forbidden to transfer the shop steward to a job with lower a salary or make him or her redundant.

A shop steward can be made redundant only if a majority of those, who he or she represents, give their permission or when the work ends completely and there is no other suitable work available.

This employment protection lasts for six months after the shop steward ceases in this position. Even those who are candidates for shop steward, enjoy employment protection three months before the elections.

The task of the shop steward can be carried out during working time and he or she has also the right to participate in Union training.

Heikki Jokinen