Labour Unions

Labour Unions / Trade Unions

A labor union or a trade union is an organization that represents the collective interests of employees. There is a variety of labour unions for different work sectors. There are about 70 labour unions in Finland, each of them belonging to one of the 3 central organisations (SAK, STTK and AKAVA). Employers’ associations and employees’ associations work together to agree on the working conditions in a certain field and generate collective agreements. The Finnish law doesn’t specify a minimum wage, but workers must be paid at least the wages specified in the relevant universally binding collective agreement.

If you intend to stay longer in Finland you should consider – even as a student – joining a Finnish labour union. The majority of Finns are members of a labour union. The labour unions look after the benefits and rights of employees, and provide legal aid, unemployment security and leisure-time services. When joining a trade union, you can also join the trade union’s unemployment fund. In case of unemployment you will receive an earnings-related daily unemployment allowance, which is higher than the basic unemployment allowance provided by KELA.

You can apply to become a member of a labour union either online or in the local office. The membership fee is between 1-2 percent of gross income. It is possible to choose the union you belong to based on the field you studied in or based on the work place. Here are some examples:

Tradenomiliitto – Union for Students of Business and Technology

Suomen Restonomit SURE (Tourism graduates, information only in Finnish)

Nuoli ry (Sports students and graduates, information only in Finnish)

Jyty ry – The Federation of Public and Private Sector Employees Jyty