Piirroskuvassa ihmisiä.

New council agreement is against discrimination

News article

TEK’s council agreement for the term 2023–2026 aims for an even better life. CEO Jari Jokinen explains how this will be achieved in practice.

Every three years, the members of the Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK elect the General Council, TEK’s highest decision-making body. The General Council now also enters into a council agreement that steers the operations of TEK over the next three years.

CEO of TEK Jari Jokinen is happy with the practice.

“Three years allows us to pursue our goals calmly and with deliberation. It gives us enough time to implement the Council’s decisions, such as the digitalisation of services last term. This ensures that we don't make rash decisions, but ones that bring about changes that actually stick.”

Jokinen believes that the council agreement strengthens TEK’s administrative model whereby the people at TEK’s office deal with day-to-day tasks, the Board meets once a month to govern operations and the General Council meets twice a year to oversee all operations.

In its biannual meeting, the Council always receives a report of what has been done and how this is related to the council agreement. This provides a structured framework for the operations of the entire organisation.
- Jari Jokinen

“In its biannual meeting, the Council always receives a report of what has been done and how this is related to the council agreement. This provides a structured framework for the operations of the entire organisation.”

This article is structured so that the text introduces the contents of the recently completed council agreement, and Jari Jokinen explains in his quotes how the intent of the council agreement is translated into practice or how it appears in the activities of TEK. The idea, therefore, is to go through the entire council agreement. The subheadings are the same as the ones in the council agreement.

Technology professionals build a sustainable, equal future

The new council agreement expresses the joint will of the council factions for TEK’s term of council 2023–2026: what are the priorities and the areas of development.

According to its rules, the purpose of TEK is “to act as its members’ common bond and support in their joint endeavours, to promote its members’ shared interests, to promote the technical sciences, technology and the common preconditions for industrial development, to represent the sector's expertise and to work for the development of general financial preconditions of the country’s economic life for the betterment of people and their living environment”. Activities are developed in active interaction with TEK members.

“In practice, interactive development means, for instance, that TEK's researchers conduct research to form an understanding of what our members need and how our activities should be developed. Our digitalised services also provide timely information on needs and shortcomings.”

We at TEK build an equitable and safe work life and society for everyone, regardless of their background. Our aim is to dismantle discriminatory structures and attitudes in work life.

“Discriminatory structures in work life can be dismantled by producing more information on how the labour market seems to be working. We at TEK are not the ones who make the decisions that dismantle discriminatory structures in work life, but we have long tried to communicate, through research, the areas where people’s skills are underutilised due to discriminatory attitudes.”

We aim to facilitate the internationalisation of the labour market and to promote a high level of skills in the field of technology.

“Among other issues, we have informed politicians of our concerns about international talent being systematically thrown out of the country under the current Government Programme, unless they find a job within three months. Three months is a short time during recruitment processes and, in some situations, non-competition agreements prevent people from finding employment in this period.”

TEK membership builds good life

Members services that make an impact are developed based on what we know about the wishes and needs of TEK members. This includes individual services.

Work-life balance is facilitated through lobbying and contract activities. The needs of tech professionals who have moved to Finland are given particular attention in our services and member acquisition.

It is TEK’s aim that all TEK members will also want to remain members from university to the grave.

“We can succeed in this if we do our essential work well and so that our members feel that TEK is useful, even before they graduate. By the way, it’s worth checking out the various webinars and recordings we have available online.”

Cooperative and professional supervision of interests in the labour market

TEK supervises its members’ interests while taking into account the specific characteristics of each member group. The supervision of interests means ensuring that the income level of all TEK members is maintained, in cooperation with other trade organisations.

TEK behaves proactively as the labour market and the supervision of interests develop. TEK supports the improvement of shop stewards’ skills and operating conditions. Labour market training is extensively provided together with partners.

Lobbying to influence social policy is done with consideration for the diverse backgrounds of members and the diversity of employment relationships at different stages in life and careers.

“Lobbying to influence social policy refers to cooperation through Akava, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland, to influence legislation, and our own active efforts towards the Government and the officials in our country.”

The social security decisions concerning entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals should be given special attention when drafting the overall reform of social security.

TEK’s supervision of interests also aims to improve the attractiveness of various academic careers in technology.

“All sectors are now competing for young people. We need to be able to influence, for example, the ways of making a career in technology appear attractive to young women as well. The technology sector needs diversity to further enrich outcomes. We also need to convince the parents of young people of the opportunities that the tech industry can offer.”

Together with other trade organisations, TEK aims to ensure that, in company-specific negotiations, the employees/staff are represented by a shop steward and the employees retain the minimum protection of the labour legislation and collective agreements.

“We work in cooperation through Akava to retain the minimum protection. As TEK, we want to emphasise that we have nothing against local negotiations, but they have to be done fairly. We also make this clear to politicians.”

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Piirroskuvassa asiantuntijoita.

Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland stands confidently on the brink of a technological revolution

TEK is proactive in the discussion on creating ethical principles for new technologies. This includes understanding the opportunities and risks of artificial intelligence and influencing laws and collective agreements.

“We were proactive in the discussion already some time ago when we were the first – or one of the first – to point out that we need more international talent in Finland. That's not a very typical statement from the employees’ side. Now, almost everyone is talking about the issue.”

The General Council must engage in continuous internal dialogue on how TEK will continue to supervise its members’ interests as the labour market changes due to technological development.

“For example, the next General Council plans to conduct a facilitated discussion on good work life. After all, our goal is to ensure that our members will thrive, which means that companies will thrive and eventually society will thrive.”

TEK strengthens the preconditions for technological entrepreneurship.

“First, we need to identify the challenges. Legislation should be clarified so that, say, no matter how you earn your income, you are treated in the same way if you become unemployed, for instance. The pension security of entrepreneurs should also be improved.”

Towards a better society through digitalisation and the green transition

TEK supports social decisions through which technology advances the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the best way possible, such as innovations that increase energy- and resource-efficiency. TEK influences the development of regulation in society and the EU both independently and through Akava and other stakeholders.

“Key stakeholders include all the organisations where we are involved. One of our ways of influencing EU matters is preparing our own programme for the elections for the European Parliament next year. We also encourage Akava to strengthen its role in the EU.”

We will examine the current situation of TEK's international activities and develop our approach so that international activities and influence are enhanced on a national and an EU level, through networks and TEK’s own actions. The best practices of our sister organisations are implemented, and our pioneering approaches are shared with others.

“Our sister organisations include the Danish Society of Engineers IDA; the Engineers of Sweden, the joint organisation for holders of a bachelor or master of science in engineering or technology in Sweden; and Norway's Tekna for holders of a master's degree in STEM and NITO, the Norwegian Society of Engineers and Technologists. Now is a good time to improve our understanding of what is happening in our sister organisations.”

Sustainable growth through competence and innovations

We facilitate the implementation of the act on innovation funding so that the GDP share of public R&D expenditure will be raised to the level (1.2%) provided for by the act by the year 2030.

TEK advances the development of an innovation system that is based on the cooperation of citizens, companies, research institutes and higher education institutes.

“We try to influence political decision-makers, arguing that simply increasing student intake, for instance, is not enough, but we also need to increase appropriations for education. An innovation system needs people to work in it.”

TEK will continue its work as an advocate for a high-quality education system and resources for higher education in technology that are qualitatively, quantitatively and geographically adequate. TEK cherishes the quality and value of academic degrees in technology. TEK works actively to make the field of technology attractive to students from different backgrounds.

Changes in the operating environment make continuous learning and skill development necessary for every TEK member over the course of their career. TEK continues its work to develop the practices of lifelong learning.

The status of the national languages should be protected in education in technology. TEK supports the development and maintenance of technology terminology.

“One way to protect the status of our national languages would be to organise bachelor’s level education in all fields in the national languages. This would ensure that the terminology also develops. However, Finland cannot withdraw from the international community in technology and provide higher education only in the national languages.”

Internal development of TEK: Courage to undergo and implement reforms

The committees and working groups are TEK's opportunities to leverage its members’ expertise in the development of its operations and decision-making. The committees and working groups must have clear roles and duties that are set when establishing each committee or working group. Committee attendance is reviewed annually and members are replaced, if necessary.

Communication between the office, the Board, the Council delegates and the committees is enhanced, and the structure of the meetings of the General Council is developed to be more conversational.

The delegates agree to attend council meetings actively and to observe the meeting protocol and the rules concerning the period of registration for full delegates.

The communality and skills of members are strengthened with the help of partnerships through both national and regional activities.

“TEK’s clubs and the technical societies provide an excellent way to do this. TEK plans to continue supporting their activities in the future.”

Multilingual activities are developed systematically and resources are also allocated to providing advisory services and supervising interests in English.