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Shop steward - 18.09.2019 klo 11.32

Taina Kainulainen stands up for retail employees: “Keep your skills up to date”

Taina Kainulainen began her retail career 25 years ago with a summer job at the Prisma store in the Seppälä district of Jyväskylä. Today, she works a job at the same location. Photo: Anna-Kaisa Hämäläinen

Taina Kainulainen, chief shop steward at the retail cooperative Osuuskauppa Keskimaa, hopes that all employees can be equally involved in the developments of the retail sector.

Kainulainen listed four topical things that have come to her attention as a shop steward.

Making a living. Most of the messages I receive have to do with the employees’ livelihood and involuntary status as part-time employees. Even when the employees ask for more hours, no full-time employment is available. It doesn’t make sense that people wouldn’t be able to make a living from their work.

Multiple skills. Retail employees must have a broad range of skills. For example, in addition to working the cash register they have to be able to handle banking services and the betting games of Veikkaus while understanding several different order and work shift systems. Even though the field is becoming increasingly digital, we have to make sure that we still provide personal customer service.

Training. I think it’s incredibly important that the skills and competence of employees are kept up to date. We should pay particular attention to the skills of our older employees to make sure they can keep up with the times.

Helping. Being a shop steward runs in my blood. My father was a shop steward in the metal industry. It gives me strength to know that I can help someone. That’s why we work in this field after all, to help others.

Could you be a shop steward?

The shop steward is the employee representative at the workplace and is the most important support for PAM members. Shop stewards are workplace experts in employment contracts, and can give advice and support to all employees at the workplace while negotiating with the employer.

The occupational safety delegate represents the employees in all matters relating to health and safety. The employees elect the occupational safety delegate from among themselves. According to law, the occupational safety delegate must be elected at all workplaces with more than ten regular employees.

Read more about the shop steward elections and the occupational safety elections, and run as a shop steward or occupational safety delegate at your workplace!