PAM, Pro and AKT: Lassila & Tikanoja snooping on union membership fee payment details – practice violates employees’ privacy
According to the law, it is not permitted to store details of trade union membership in various “lists” or registers or use the details for company purposes. The picture does not have anything to do with this news. Photo source: Lassila & Tikanoja 2016
Information obtained by the employees’ unions Service Union United PAM, the Transport Workers’ Union AKT and the managerial staff union Pro indicates that Lassila & Tikanoja, one of the largest facility services companies in Finland, used personal data relating to employees’ union membership fees in contravention of data protection legislation.
Collection details of trade union membership fees are for the use of employees themselves, companies’ payroll departments and the tax authorities. Under the law employers may not collect trade union membership details for the company’s own purposes.
“It seems that the company is trying to reduce union members’ sense of security and undermine unionisation. The way it looks to us is that the company is using the information for its own dubious purposes. This is totally unacceptable in modern, free working life, where union membership should be respected”, the trade unions point out.
Both in the repealed Personal Data Act and the current Data Protection Act, trade union membership details are classified as sensitive information, meaning that individual employees’ membership fee collection data may only be used for the purpose it was given for. It is not permitted to store details of trade union membership in various “lists” or registers, and details supplied for the collection of membership fees may not be used illegitimately for other purposes.
The trade unions are very disappointed with the actions of Lassila & Tikanoja, which are a clear attempt to weaken the position of the trade unions as a contracting partner.
“Companies that value their employees have not previously seen union membership as a threat. It has been seen as a resource and the cohesion and representation of employees has been respected. That is why it is strange that the membership details of individual employees are being scrutinised.”
“Employers have no right to ask whether an employee is a union member or not. Organised employees have their own representative, the shop steward, who is the point of contact for consultations.”