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TEK does not participate in political demonstrations

News article

A majority of TEK’s members doesn’t support participating in the demonstrations. TEK will continue its advocacy work towards the government.

The Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK has decided not to participate in the political demonstration organized by its central organization Akava on 6 February to oppose the government’s labor market changes. TEK asked its members what they think about the issue. Based on the results of the survey, about two thirds of the members are negative about participating.

“Because the majority of our members do not support participating in the demonstration, we are not involved as an organization. However, this does not mean that we would not continue to influence the work related to the labor market provisions of the government program together with the Akava unions. Many TEK members justified their answer by saying that the government has the right to use the power that has been democratically granted to it. In addition, a key reason was that the employer is not the right target for a demonstration related to the government program,” says TEK’s CEO Jari Jokinen

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Between 11 and 16 January 2024 TEK asked a random sample of 10,000 full members whether TEK should require that the central organization Akava organize a political demonstration with its member unions, such as a walkout. 2,338 members responded to the survey, of which 64 percent answered “no” and 22 percent answered “yes”. 14 percent could not answer the question. When the responses of the management or middle management were left out and only those working in expert roles were picked, the majority of the respondents, i.e. 58 percent, still answered negatively. 

“I understand very well the frustration of those members who would have wanted TEK to be involved in the demonstration. The open answers show a justified concern about the deterioration of working conditions and unemployment security, as well as the erosion of the bargaining position of the salary earner side. Although there are no prerequisites for demonstrations now, we will continue to work for a better working life in all other ways,” comments TEK’s Labor Market Director Teemu Hankamäki

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TEK also asked what the respondents’ own readiness to participate in a political demonstration would be. 57 percent of respondents reported that they would not be ready for any kind of demonstration. 10 percent, on the other hand, would be ready to participate in a few-hour demonstration during working hours and 18 percent in a one-day demonstration. 8 percent would be ready for a demonstration on their own time. 7 percent could not answer.

TEK’s advocacy work towards the government continues as an independent union as well as together with Akava unions. This means that we are in direct contact with political decision-makers and offer alternatives to government proposals. The goal is also that changes related to working life could be negotiated as a whole.