Appointment of shop steward cleared the air at the workplace– “There are no tensions under the surface any more”
Elise Jarho, head shop steward at Linnatuuli, is taken by the support of her coworkers. “Without our employees I wouldn’t be in this role”, she says. Photo: Harri Nurminen
The team spirit improved at Linnatuuli service station in Janakkala with the election of a shop steward.
Linnatuuli is a popular motorway service station halfway between Helsinki and Tampere. The building, with its angular roof, straddles Highway 3 and houses a grocery store, service station and restaurant, run by 47 employees. Their interests are represented by head shop steward Elise Jarho from Hämeenlinna, who has just been elected for a second term.
Before her appointment employees at Linnatuuli had been without a shop steward for eight years. The previous union representative had changed jobs, and no replacement had been elected.
However, several employees had noticed problems at the workplace, and had sought advice from PAM’s regional office. They suggested appointing a shop steward to support the workplace. The employees were in agreement as to who should fill that role.
Jarho is usually to be found behind the Hesburger counter at Linnatuuli, but sometimes also at Subway or in the seating area. She jokingly calls herself “a jack of all trades”. Jarho thinks her approachable nature has helped her to be a link between employees and employer.
“It’s important to respect both sides. I have made myself visible at work from the word go, and I inform employees a lot, mostly by discussing with them. If I get an email on something I think is important for the employees, I pass it on and I also put it on the noticeboard”, she says.
Jarho’s work has borne fruit. Trust has increased between employees and the employer, away days were organised for staff, they have Smartum exercise
vouchers, more employees are union members, and as well as the head shop steward they are supported by a deputy shop steward, an occupational safety representative and deputy representative.
“They were our objective, and now we have them”, she says.
Jarho thinks the most important change is the improved working atmosphere.
“There are no tensions under the surface the way there used to be. Employees can rely on issues being taken forward by the shop steward and the occupational safety representative. That has to be the biggest change around here. The phone calls to the union have stopped”, she says.
Although she is satisfied with what was achieved in her previous period, she is thinking ahead to the next period.
“I intend to continually develop myself and acquire more knowhow so that I can continue to be a good shop steward. I use the time that I am released from work for online studies and of course the upcoming collective bargaining round will have a big impact on my role”, Jarho sums up.