European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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18 January 2017

Finland: Trade union merger under way for exporting industries

The process to merge the four main trade unions for exporting industries, agreed at the end of 2016, is facing its first challenge.

The industrial union TEAM, the Metal Workers’ Union, Metalliliitto, the Paper Workers’ Union, Paperiliitto, and the Woodworkers’ Union, Puuliittoo, decided, at the end of 2016, to merge. This was prompted by the recent decentralisation of collective bargaining, from national level to branch level, and the fact that the exporting sectors would be the first to negotiate, thereby establishing the general framework for pay rises for the economy as a whole.

The unions have already agreed on the subscription for the new union (1 % of gross salary) and on a timetable. Thus a final report on the proposed merger and the initial guidelines should be drawn up by the end of January 2017, with a view to taking a final decision on the merger arrangements in May 2017 and holding the inaugural congress in November 2017. However, at the start of January the Paperiliitto union, under pressure from its left wing, pulled out and it is no longer certain if the three other unions will continue with the merger.

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