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Union Council re-elect Päivi Niemi-Laine as JHL President

Päivi Niemi-Laine is to continue as the President of the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL. The two Chief Executive Officers, Håkan Ekström and Teija Asara-Laaksonen will retain their posts as well.

Election to these top positions were passed unanimously at the first meeting of the newly elected JHL Union Council in Helsinki 5-7 June. The new Union Council Chairperson is Sirkka-Liisa Kähärä. All those elected sit for a five year term.

In her speech to the Council the Union Council Chairperson Sirkka-Liisa Kähärä said that in the next round of collective bargaining JHL should set a goal to get a real rise in pay for those earning the least.

– We must be able to do more to bridge the gap with industry pay and show an example to the whole of Finland that the women’s euro can no longer be 80 cents.

– In our union labour market policy and in the forthcoming collective bargaining we must demonstrate a clear priority to tackling the challenges connected with pay and gender structures, Kähärä said.

There were several international guests at the JHL Union Council meeting. Two of them come from Haiti, Gina Georges from the women’s Renafanm network and Beatriz Corbanese from the Centre Petión Bolívar who work in the fields of research and education.

JHL is a supporter of the literacy campaign for women and young people in Haiti. The project is organised through The Trade Union Solidarity Centre of Finland SASK. JHL is a member of SASK.

Rosa Pavanelli, the Secretary General of Public Services International also attended the Council meeting. She encouraged the unions to strengthen their global cooperation so as to work better for democracy, welfare and workers’ rights.

Public service has been dismantled at high speed for the last ten years, Pavanelli told the meeting. As a result of this equality has been eroded, and the idea of a welfare state is in real danger because of the policies of neoliberal governments.

Financing the public services is not a matter of money but of a political will, Pavanelli stressed. Creating a fair tax system and stamping out corruption in privatised public services would generate enough money to finance public services.

Heikki Jokinen