FUURT Union Meeting discusses negative impacts on working life of researchers

The Union Meeting, the highest decision-making body of the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers, convened in Teams on Friday, 10 November. The Union Meeting decided on the activities and finances of the Union for the next year and elected the members of the Union Board for 2024.  

In his Union Meeting address, Union President Tero Karjalainen focused on the impacts of the legislative changes on the daily working life of academics, as planned by the Government under Prime Minister Petteri Orpo. 

‘The working life policies put forth in the Government Programme will unilaterally weaken the employment terms and security of those who are already in a weaker position within working life. FUURT’s recent member survey shows that fixed-term employment and uncertainty about the continuity of employment are placing an unhealthy amount of stress on academics. For example, grant funding is already now being used too often as the justification for fixed-term employment arrangements. A large portion of the employment relationships of researchers are fragmented and intermittent, and anything that weakens the grounds of fixed-term employment relationships will, at its worst, only add further uncertainty regarding research careers’, Karjalainen sums up. 

Together with Akava, we are prioritising a path of reconciliation to find balanced labour market solutions. ‘Finnish society and working life are based on trust and commonly drafted agreements. The new Government Programme throws a spanner in the works of this agreement system and unreasonably punishes those who are involuntarily working in atypical employment relationships. We are prepared to take measures as part of the Akava community’, states Karjalainen. 

The Minister of Science and Culture addressed the Union Meeting

When addressing the Union Meeting, Minister of Science and Culture Sari Multala emphasised the importance of the historical RDI investments and the doctoral education pilot. ‘Despite this extremely challenging financial situation, we are making historically significant investments in research and product development’, says Minister Multala. 

FUURT’s message on the uncertainty in the working life of researchers and the need to improve the attractiveness of research careers has been heard by the Ministry. ‘We also hope that the investments we are now making will enhance the attractiveness of research careers and boost the position of early career researchers, in particular. At the moment, many researchers are in unnecessarily insecure situations in terms of their funding. Competition is a given, but it would be great if more doctoral researchers would be able to carry out their work, for example, in employment relationships’, the Minister adds. 

The Union Meeting decided on the activities for the next year

Altogether 111 representatives from 13 associations participated in the Union Meeting. The Union Meeting decided on the activities and finances for the next year and held a discussion about the Union’s strategy and changes to the Union rules. For the next year, Tero Karjalainen will continue in the role of Union President with Sanni Tiitinen and Pauli Väisänen as Vice Presidents. 

The following persons and their deputy representatives were elected to the Union Board for next year:    

Ordinary Member   Organisation    Deputy member:   Organisation   
Tommi Mäklin  HUART  Joanna Töyräänvuori  HUART 
Juha Ylisalo  TuT  Elina Pelto  TuT 
Stefan Baumeister  Jytte  Matti Leppäniemi  Jytte 
Paula Silvén  Tatte  Aura Lounasmaa  Tatte 
Jussi Hyvärinen  INA  Kirsi Heino  INA 
Marko Helenius  3T  Jorma Laaksonen  ATTE 
Hanna Lempinen  Lati  Saara Koikkalainen  ITTE 
Konsta Happonen  SATY  Ville Kellokumpu  OUTI 

Further information: 

Tero Karjalainen, President 

Johanna Moisio, Executive Director 

E-mail addresses are in the form firstname.lastname(a)tieteentekijat.fi.