The Wood and Allied Workers´ Union – promoting the interests of our membersWith roots going back to 1899, the Wood and Allied Workers’ Union is the branch association of employees in the mechanical forest industry, the woodworking industry, the forestry and harvesting industries, the boat-building industry and the agricultural industries.
The union has a high rate of organisation: up to 80 per cent of workers in the above-mentioned sectors are members of the Wood and Allied Workers’ Union. The union has a total of approximately 38,000 members.
The high level of unionisation enables efficient interest-watching activities, which essentially comprise the following:
- The Wood and Allied Workers’ Union negotiates the terms of employment of the sectors together with the employers. The union is responsible for signing altogether 14 collective agreements which that allow the employees of the sectors to achieve terms of employment considerably better than those required by Finnish employment legislation, which is already quite progressive in international comparison. The agreements also contain regulations on minimum wages, which in Finland are not governed by law but by collective agreements. The collective agreements of the Wood and Allied Workers’ Union are generally binding, which means that they apply to all employees in the sector. The best way to ensure compliance with the collective agreement in your workplace is to join as a member of the union.
- The union is involved in legislative work affecting the sectors both in Finland and at the EU level. For example, occupational safety and health issues are mostly governed by national legislation. In Finland the drafting of legislation is largely a tripartite process: in addition to the government, contributors include representatives of employers and employees. The Wood and Allied Workers’ Union has a voice in tripartite cooperation through its central organisation SAK – the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions. In practice, this applies to all employment and social legislation. The Wood and Allied Workers’ Union offers its members the opportunity for active involvement in the development of working life.
- The Wood and Allied Workers’ Union ensures compliance with the collective agreement and applicable legislation for each of its members. Members have access to counselling, legal assistance, training regarding their rights, and other services. Many workplaces have a shop steward to serve members and represent the union. Membership also carries benefits unrelated to interest-watching, such as holiday cabins intended for members, and leisure activities and union events.
Those permanently residing in Finland may also join as members of the unemployment fund of the Wood and Allied Workers’ Union. In the Finnish unemployment security system those belonging to an unemployment fund are entitled to receive earnings-related unemployment benefit, which is considerably better than statutory unemployment benefit – also in financial terms.
An increasing number of the members of the Wood and Allied Workers’ Union are foreigners, a development warmly welcomed by the union: the more active foreign members the union has, the better it will be able to promote the position of foreign employees in the relevant sectors and to watch over their interests.
Click here to join. (The application form is in English.)