Teemu Hankamäki

Why should the number of employee representatives be doubled?

12.10.2021
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News article

One of the goals of YTN in its strategy for 2021–2025 is to double the number of employee representatives together with its member unions.

1. One of the goals of The Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff YTN in its strategy for 2021–2025 is to double the number of employee representatives together with its member unions. Why so, Chair of YTN and Labour Market Director at TEK Teemu Hankamäki?

– Employers seem to want to transfer collective bargaining activities more towards the company level instead of national agreement. If this is the direction we are headed, it is only natural and necessary for senior salaried employees to have their own employee representative in the company.

2. YTN currently has about 1 700 employee representatives or shop stewards in total. How can this number be doubled?

– The goal is certainly ambitious and it remains to be seen if it is realistic and achievable. Especially many medium-sized companies in different industries in Finland have no employee representatives at all for their senior salaried employees. Reaching this goal will undoubtedly also require special campaigning, that is, educating people about the significance of employee representatives and their duties and work in practice.

3. Of the employee representatives, 350 are members of TEK. You are also the Labour Market Director at TEK. What will you do in practice to double the number of employee representatives who are TEK members?

– This is a challenge, there is no doubt about it. Increasing the number of employee representatives will certainly require at least keeping the issue on the agenda and promoting it in the long run. Hopefully this article will inspire at least one TEK member to become an employee representative.

4. There are just under 90 000 employers in Finland. Is it enough to double the number of employee representatives to 3 400?

– There are roughly 10 000 companies in Finland with a staff of more than 20 people. These companies employ almost 70 percent of all company employees, and the percentage may be higher for senior salaried employees. Since the world is rarely finished in one go, a good place to start is to have employee representatives in the companies where there are lots of people to represent.

5. What should a person do right now if they are interested in becoming an employee representative?

– If your company does not have an employee representative, you can organize an election at any time. However, I would recommend that you contact your union first. They will give you good advice on how to proceed. If your company already has an employee representative, you can run for the position in the next election.

 

Read more on employee representatives on YTN's site