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Industrial unions boost cooperation

7.11.2014 13:19

The Council of Industrial Unions TP is growing. Four new unions signed up recently and now it encompasses 17 unions from all three trade union confederations.

(Helsinki 07.11.2014 - Heikki Jokinen)

The task of TP is to allow industrial unions to work together more closely in an effort to safeguard the interests of their members. This means activities in the fields of political influence and in economic and industrial policy.

TP has been in existence for more than 20 years but recent structural changes in Finnish industry have made it necessary for closer union cooperation in the industrial sector. More than 100,000 industrial jobs have disappeared in this millennium.

At the beginning of 2013 TP was officially registered as an association. With the new members it broadly represents industrial unions. The 17 member unions have 750,000 members altogether. TP is currently chaired by Riku Aalto, the chairperson of the Metalworkers' Union.

”The new members will make our shoulders broader in order to work towards our joint goals both in the labour market and in society generally”, Riku Aalto says.

The newspaper Demokraatti asks whether the growing cross-confederation TP is going to become a kind of new trade union confederation.

”No”, replies Matti Huutola, vice-chairperson of the central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions SAK. ”Quite the contrary, in fact. It is good that there exists this kind of a forum that looks at industry and its future in a broader perspective. We do not see this as some kind of alternative to the work carried out by the confederations.”

TP has no full time staff. In some Nordic countries the co-operational bodies of major industrial unions have a coordinating role in collective bargaining.