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 some 142 500, 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.

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.

Membership fee stays unchanged

(4.1.2016)

The membership fees for the Metalworkers' Union and the Metalworkers' Unemployment Fund are the same in the year 2016 as they were in the year 2015, i.e. in total for both the fee is 1,75 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 0,65 per cent.

Election of occupational safety and health representatives 1.11.-31.12.2015

OSH Election Instructions  PDF
 

Advocacy is a team game

(19.10.2015)

There are no quick wins in advocacy. Success is built on long-term continuous work. The Finnish Metalworkers’ Union – Metalli starts now a long spurt to strenghten the advocacy in Finnish workplaces. Join our team!
www.joukkuelaji.fi/en/
 

Employee organisations are asking: "How do you feel about it?"

(15.10.2015)

Employee organisations' Mikä fiilis? ("How do you feel about it?") campaign, promoting unionisation, will be running on television, in cinemas and on social media in October and November 2015.

Organised by the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), the Confederation of Unions for Pro-fessional and Managerial Staff in Finland (Akava) and the Finnish Confederation of Professionals (STTK), the purpose of the campaign is to remind people that by belonging to a trade union we can help shape working life for the future.

The first stage of the Mikä fiilis? campaign, which took place in winter 2014, highlighted equality in pay, bul-lying in the workplace, zero-hours contracts and unpaid overtime.

The topics for the second stage of the campaign are the rights of employees.

Read more
 

Employee Demonstration

(18.9.2015)

Members of SAK, Akava and STTK unions demonstrated on Helsinki Railway Station Square on Friday 18 September 2015.

The demonstration was in defence of the labour market organisations’ right to determine collective agreements and in opposition to the government’s unilateral decisions to weaken employees’ terms of employment. The government announced changes including forced restrictions to annual holiday entitlement, an unpaid sick leave waiting day, turning weekday holidays into days without pay and cuts to overtime and Sunday work compensation.

The chairmen of the trade union confederations stress that employees cannot accept the government’s coercive measures. The government is not respecting employees’ and employers’ right to determine labour costs and other terms of employment. It is also threatening to breach the internationally recognised principle that the law primarily protects the weaker party.

-We are coming out in defence of those in a weaker position, say Lauri Lyly (SAK), Sture Fjäder (Akava) and Antti Palola (STTK).

Read also:
Government hits hard against freedom of agreement

Main content of the new Collective Agreement

(30.10.2013)

Metalworkers' Union has closed new 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.

Main guidelines

The Congress of the Finnish Metalworkers' Union decided 30.05.2012 as a specific item of the agenda upon the main guidelines for the coming congress period. These guidelines compress the decisions made in the different groups of issues and define the major focus matters and goals.

The main guidelines are:

In the defending of members' interests:

The general pay raise in the negotiated wage solutions guarantees a unified wage development and the pay raises by cent improve the real income and purchasing power.

We improve and clarify the rules of agency work and the conditions of employment relations.

When improving bargaining conditions and legislation concerning holidays and annual leaves our goal is to prolong the annual leave without wage loss.

Regulations concerning short absences caused by the employee's or a child's sickness will be improved so that it is sufficient for the employee to make his/her own announcement.

We advocate the right to file a group lawsuit in order to better intervene in the flaws in working conditions.

We call for more resources to be directed to wellbeing at work and the improvement of working conditions.

We avert the attacks against the employment pension system and the additional unemployment benefit days.

We avert the attempts to raise the age limit for retirement.

We follow more closely the operations of Finnish multinational companies abroad.

In the Metalworkers' Union:

We launch an organizing campaign in order to strengthen our work on the shop floor and widen our operation to new work places.

We analyse the organisational state of our local branches and make proposals to change the structure of our branches so that the local branches can better fulfil their basic task.

We obligate the union officials to visit all work places in our bargaining sectors.

In our union training we support commitment to our members, the resources of our persons of trust and the goals of wellbeing at work.

We secure the services to our members and improve them by directing resources according to the members' needs.

We increase the access to easy electronic member services.

We expedite the payment of unemployment benefits.

We utilize the present and new diversified means of communication in order to answer to our members' need.

In the society:

We take strong measures in order to extirpate grey economy in co-operation with the authorities and other players.

We take measures in order to guarantee good operating conditions for the Finnish industry which guarantee the financing of our welfare society.