OAJ and FUURT set up a joint association to foster the supervision of interests in the university sector

The Trade Union of Education in Finland OAJ and the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers FUURT have set up a joint organisation, Tiede ja Opetus ry. It is meant to promote and strengthen the supervision of interests of university research and teaching staff and other experts as well as further foster the co-operation of universities’ mid-level employees who are also Akava members.

OAJ and FUURT signed an agreement concerning increased co-operation for the supervision of interests in autumn 2019. They felt that both parties would benefit from engaging in advocacy and preparatory work together as concerns agreement activities as well as education and science policy. Both unions are active members in the Negotiation Organisation for Public Sector Professionals JUKO and the Confederation of Unions for Professional Managerial Staff in Finland Akava.

‘The Tiede ja Opetus association helps further foster and strengthen co-operation in the supervision of interests as concerns collective agreements and education and science policy. We will broaden the co-operation in the higher education sector, even though the main focus is on the university sector. Advocacy work will be prepared and implemented together.’

‘Together, FUURT and OAJ members form the largest Akava staff group in universities and universities of applied sciences. We aim to increase our influence in the supervision of interests as concerns contracts as well as science and education policy’, says Olli Luukkainen, President of OAJ and Juko.

President of FUURT Maija S. Peltola emphasises that while the new association brings strength to the union level, it also supports the locally-realised supervision of interests for mid-level employees.

‘Co-operation brings all different areas of expertise together, which will benefit everyone. Together we are stronger and can promote the interests of our members in an even more versatile manner’, she sums up.

The founding of the new association does not change the negotiation system. Collective agreement negotiations will still be conducted by Juko, i.e., the bargaining parties or the position of university shop stewards will not change. The Tiede ja Opetus association will support negotiation activities and the work of shop stewards.

The association was founded in late May with Olli Luukkainen as Chair of the Board and Maija S. Peltola as Vice-Chair. Tiede ja Opetus ry is an association of associations, and as such, has no individual members.

FUURT has over 7,300 members, who work in science, research, and higher education, mostly in universities. OAJ has 116,000 members in the education and research sectors. The OAJ university members belong to YLL, the Union for University Teachers and Researchers in Finland, and the OAJ teachers in normal schools to OAJ’s general education teachers.