Social democrats kept clear majority at the Woodworkers' Union | Trade Union Pro
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Social democrats kept clear majority at the Woodworkers' Union

23.10.2014 14:57
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The Union Council elections at the Wood and Allied Workers' Union caused no political changes. The social democratic majority group got 63.2 per cent of the members' votes.

Helsinki (23.10.2014 - Heikki Jokinen)

In previous union elections in 2005 they got a 0.10 per cent bigger share of the votes. The other group, backed by the Left Alliance and the Centre Party got 37.7 per cent of the votes. The polling percentage was 40.2 per cent. The union has some 37,000 members.

Previously members voted for delegates to the Union Congress, but this was the first time that the Council was elected by a direct vote.

The chairperson of the Wood and Allied Workers' Union, Sakari Lepola says he is satisfied with the result, even though the polling percentage was not as high as expected.

“After these elections I can happily announce that I am not available when the Council elects a new chairperson for the Union at the end of November. The five and a half years, in which I served as chairperson, has been the most interesting and demanding period of work in my life.”

Lepola will retire in early 2016 and he promises his full support for the new chairperson.

Two candidates for the new chairperson

So far two people have expressed interest for the chairperson task. One is Jari Nilosaari, who works in the Union as a collective bargaining officer for the mechanical forest industry.

The other candidate is Aleksi Kuusisto, who also works in the Union as a secretary of international affairs. In 2014-2016 he is working at the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions SAK as an expert on international affairs.

The Wood Workers' Union has been striving to achieve closer cooperation or mergers with other industrial unions. The most recent negotiations about a merger were held with the Trade Union Pro, but these ended without a result earlier this autumn.

This merger would have been something new in the Finnish trade union world, as the unions are members of different trade union confederations. The Wood Workers' Union belongs to the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions SAK and Pro to the Finnish Confederations of Professionals STTK.

Chairperson Sakari Lepola sees it as vital for trade unions to engage in renewal. “In the big picture the trade union movement must renew its structures in order to do things well in the future.”

He considers the unsuccessful big merger project of SAK industrial unions some five years ago as one of the major failings of the trade union movement.

“We would be in a much better situation had this merger taken place.”