The Finnish Metalworkers' Union

Metalworkers' Union in brief

The Finnish Metalworkers' Union - Metalli was founded in 1899 and is the largest union of industrial workers in Finland.

The Metalworkers' Union organises about 90 % of the blue collar workers working in the metal industry. The total union membership is 139 479 (31.12.2016) , of which 20 % are women.

All workers in a metal plant can belong to the Metalworkers' Union, including carpenters, painters and cleaners etc. The rules allow union membership also to white-collar workers unless they are in a supervisory position.

The Finnish Metalworkers' Union negotiates collective agreements for ten separate sectors: technology industry (e.g. engineering, shipbuilding, iron and steel industry, electronic industry, car manufacturing), car repair workshops, clerical employees of car retail, telecommunication industry, mining, electricity and power plants, precious metals sector, sheet metal industry, repair works for mechanical forest industry, civilian workers in the Ministry of Defence repair shops.

The Metalworkers’ Union is now the Finnish Industrial Union

On May 17-18, the Extraordinary Congress of the Metalworkers' Union decided to change the name of the union and adopt the new statutes for the union. The name is now Teollisuusliitto, in English, the Finnish Industrial Union. The proposal was adopted unanimously.

The Extraordinary Congress adopted also the model statutes for the local union branches and the procedures for voting and eligibility in the elections of the new union. These decisions have no impact on the union branches of the Metalworkers’ Union or existing membership. The trade union branches will automatically become affiliated to the Finnish Industrial Union and branch members will become members of the new union.

Both the Industrial Union Team and the Woodworkers’ Union were involved in the merger project together with the Metalworkers’ Union. The National Councils of these unions decided at the same time to terminate the activities of their unions and recommend that their branches apply for membership of the Finnish Industrial Union. The union branches will become members of the Finnish Industrial Union by the beginning of November. The first Congress of the new union will be organised in November 28-30, 2017.

The Extraordinary Congress decided also on the persons to be elected to the administrative bodies of the Finnish Industrial Union. The members term is temporary, and at the end of November, during the Congress of the new union, new members will be elected to administrative bodies of the union, and the Industrial Union TEAM and the Woodworkers’ Union will be represented in it, too.

Extraordinary congress will decide on industrial union

On May 17-18, the extraordinary congress of the Metalworkers' Union convenes to decide on the establishment of a new industrial union.

The congress will consider the proposals for the new industrial union and its rules. The proposed name of the union in Finnish is Teollisuusliitto, in Swedish Industrifacket and in English The Finnish Industrial Union.

The decision about the establishment of the new union is to be made on the first day of the congress. The congress will also adopt model rules for branches of the new union and the its voting and electoral regulations.

On the second day, the congress will decide on the management of the new industrial union. A temporary administration will be elected from representatives of the Metalworkers' Union and will function until next autumn. The first common congress that will elect the actual administration of the new union will be held in Tampere Hall on 28–30 November.

Delegates to the congress in November will come from the three unions that are involved in the merger: the Metalworkers' Union, the Industrial Union TEAM, and the Woodworkers' Union. In the congress, the administration of the union will be elected from representatives of the three unions for the term 2017–2023.

The first ordinary congress of the new industrial union is to take place in 2023.

The decisions made in the extraordinary congress will not affect the branches or branch memberships of the Metalworkers' Union. The branches of the two other unions will apply for the membership of the new union formed after decisions made by the Metalworkers' Union.

Also TEAM and Woodworkers' Union councils convene

At the same time with the Metalworkers' Union's extraordinary congress, the councils of the Industrial Union TEAM and the Woodworkers' Union will convene. In their meetings they will dissolve and encourage their branches to join the new industrial union.

TEAM convenes in Messukeskus Helsinki and the Woodworkers' Union in Vantaa. On 17 May, representatives of the councils of both of the unions will come to observe the Metalworkers' Union's congress making the decision about the new union.

Also the representative body of the Unemployment Fund of Metalworkers will convene at Messukeskus for an extraordinary meeting. The meeting will consider the proposal for a new industrial unemployment fund and its rules as well as decide on establishing the new industrial unemployment fund.

The extraordinary congress of the Metalworkers' Union in Messukeskus Helsinki on 17–18 May. The delegates are the 422 delegates of the 22nd ordinary congress of 2016.

The extraordinary congress begins at 10 am and the live webcast can be followed at liittokokous.metalliliitto.fi.

Membership fee

The membership fees for the Metalworkers' Union and the Metalworkers' Unemployment Fund are in the year 2017 in total for both 1,74 per cent.

The National Council confirmed the union share of the fee to be 0,905 per cent, the local branch share 0,195 per cent of the taxable wage income and according to the Financial Supervisory Authority decision the  Unemployment Fund share of the fee is 0,64 per cent.

History in the making

The 22nd Congress of the Metalworkers’ Union made a historic decision when delegates voted, with a clear majority, in favour of continued negotiations on union co-operation. Metalworkers, the industrial union Team, Woodworkers and Paperworkers plan to merge into the largest trade union in Finland at the end of 2017.

– The merger of the industrial unions is a historic event. I, for my part, promise to do all in my might to keep the project on the planned schedule, stated Riku Aalto, for the third time elected President of the union in his closing speech in Tampere.

Aalto believes that the Finnish Metalworkers’ Union is able to renew its modus operandi. He mentioned, as an example, the organizing actions and the Steady-job campaign. He was especially pleased with the result of the latest membership enquiry which shows that young people are again more interested in the trade union movement and in matters of the working life.

– It is perhaps due to these new work forms which have affected the image which comes across of our activities. It is, however, clear that that the main task of our union, a strong advocacy of our members’ interests, requires new methods to support it.

The Congress elected Turja Lehtonen to Union Secretary. In his own speech Lehtonen reminded that the election campaign is now over.

– I hope that tomorrow when we leave this venue we leave it as one unified advocacy team.

In this Congress there was less voting than in the previous one. For instance, the new union statutes were approved unanimously. The statutes of the Metalworkers’ Union had become quite tangled in the course of the years. Therefore, the executive committee issued a motion to the Congress to change the structure of the statutes. At the same time also the statutes of the local branch were clarified.

The union statutes were changed, among other things, due to the union merger project. Eligibility and voting rights are now restricted in the union elections to apply only to members who are at the labour market’s disposal. In the three other unions which are part of the merger project the retired members are not eligible for candidates nor can they vote in the union elections.

The Congress approved the most important priorities for forthcoming union activities. In addition to the continuous promotion of the union merger, the scope for action of shop stewards will be improved both through agreements and through legislation. The Congress decided to take shortening of working hours as a long-term objective.

Organizing and strengthening the organisational status of the local branches will still be in the focus of the union. Membership services and union training will be further improved. The union wants to work towards banning zero-hours contracts. The union will also strive for the right for trade unions to bring suit.

The 22nd Congress of the Metalworkers’ Union

The 22nd Congress of the Metalworkers’ Union convenes in Tampere Hall 22. - 25.5.2016.

The Congress is the highest decision making organ of the union. It convenes every 4th year and makes decisions on the political and bargaining policy guidelines for the next congress period, elects the President and the Union Secretary, the Executive Committee and the National Council.

422 delegates were elected in the Congress election.

SAK opened free employee rights advisory service for immigrants

The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) opened a free advisory service for immigrant employees in Finland.

By providing an employment advisory service free of charge, SAK is seeking to help foreigners and immigrant employees enter the world of work and integrate into society in Finland.

Advisory service lawyer Anna-Liisa Häkkinen will respond to employment-related questions in Finnish and English by telephone and e-mail.

Besides providing legal advice to individuals, the service lawyer will advise immigrant organisations on work-related issues and train trade unions and shop stewards in immigration questions.

The employee rights advisory service for immigrants will be open between Monday and Thursday from 09.00 to 11.00 and from 12.00 to 15.00. Telephone 0800 414 004 or e-mail workinfinland@sak.fi.

Information on working life in Finland is also available on the SAK website: www.sak.fi/workinfinland.

Update your membership information

If you doubt that your membership information is not up to date, please correct your address information. This is made easy through the union website www.metalliliitto.fi/sahkoinen-asiointi. You can also check up your data in your local branch, the regional office or the members’ service number 020 77 41180.

Main content of the Collective Agreement

Metalworkers' Union has closed 30.10.2013 Collective Agreements for all its sectors for the next three years.

These agreements follow the so called Employment and Growth Agreement. Parties to this agreement are the wage earners' and employers' central organisations and the Finnish government. As part of this agreement the government will e.g. lighten the taxation and improve the conditions for receiving unemployment benefits.

Wages will be raised by 12 c/hour or 20 €/month from 1.3.2014. The next pay raise will be from 1.3.2015 when the general raise is  0, 4 per cent.  Raises for 2016 will be negotiated by the summer 2015.

In the Technology Industries the lowest figure of table wages will be raised, while not changing the mutual relations, by 8 cent or 14 euro in 2014 and by 7 cent or 12 euro in 2015. The lowest table wage from 1.3.2014 is  869 cent/hour or 1515 euro/month. The highest table wage is 1284 cent/hour or 2238 euro/month.

Specific allowances (evening or night work etc.) are raised by 1, 1 per cent from the beginning of March.

Metalworkers' Union negotiated considerable improvements to the agreement texts. Now the Head Shop Steward can locally agree that the employee's own announcement to the employer is sufficient for max. 3 days' absence from work due to illness.

In order to lengthen the working careers, the employer and an employee who has filled 58 years will have a discussion on the possible measures to support the continued working ability of the aging employee.

When the employer is permanently or temporarily laying off work force he/she must last lay off those persons who are due to their professional skills and other abilities important to the company or if they have, while serving the same employer, lost part of their ability to work.  In addition, the employer must pay attention to the length of the employment and the employee's mandatory obligations.

Regulations concerning agency work were revised. The renewed agency work stipulations improve the status of both agency workers and the own personnel.

The Head Shop Steward can represent the agency workers in questions concerning their employment relations if they so will.

The user company must give information on its central working conditions to the agency in writing so that the central working conditions of the agency workers can be adapted according to the practices in the user company.  In this way, the working conditions of the agency workers can be brought closer to the conditions of the regular staff.

If the employer has laid off regular staff he/she cannot for six months' time employ agency workers. Neither can the employer for production or economic reasons replace regular workers with agency workers under any circumstances.

In addition to the Collective Agreement with the Technology Industries the Metalworkers' Union has closed agreements with similar contents for its other sectors: precious metals, metal sheet and industrial insulation, Defence Ministry, mechanic forest industry and technical service and maintenance.