Skip to content

03.06.2024 15:30

”It takes great courage to defend the weakest”

PAM’s spring council began with the presidents’ speeches in which they expressed concern about the position of the employees and the importance of a courageous trade union movement.

Kuvassa PAMin valtuuston puheenjohtaja SAmi Viitasaari
PAMin valtuuston puheenjohtaja Sami Viitasaari

PAM’s president Annika Rönni-Sällinen and council chairman Sami Viitasaari highlighted in their opening remarks the effects of the government’s cuts on workers’ lives and the important role that the trade union movement has as a defendant of working men and women.

Annika Rönni-Sällinen described the situation in Finland as gloomy.

− The government seems to be driving Finland into an ever deeper negative spiral of contradictions and conflicts. Are increasing confrontations and inequality really what Finnish working life and companies need?

Rönni-Sällinen listed the government’s measures that undermine the employees’ status and security. She cited changes limiting the possibility of political and sympathy strikes as well as tougher sanctions for so-called illegal strikes as particularly worrying.

Council chairman Sami Viitasaari emphasized the trade union movement’s current challenges and, on the other hand, its long history.

− When have we not had a hard time? For more than 100 years, there have been hard times, the reasons have only varied and will continue to do so, Viitasaari recalled and continued:

− It takes great courage to defend the weakest. We have to show that it is not okay for us to trample upon those who are in the weakest position.

Annika Rönni-Sällinen, president of Service Union United PAM

Rönni-Sällinen addressed problems with part-time work that have grown under the current government. Often employees work part-time against their will, because there is no full-time work available. This leads to financial uncertainty and anxiety for many employees.

− The government has been particularly against those who work part-time. Cutting down on their livelihood promotes neither well-being at work nor mental health, said Rönni-Sällinen.

Rönni-Sällinen and Viitasaari thanked PAM members for their courage and commitment to Serious Grounds demonstrations and strikes.

− Everyone must understand that the fight was not in vain, even though the government is now implementing things that we protested against.

The upcoming EU elections were mentioned as an important channel for influence in many of the speeches. Rönni-Sällinen underlined that you can have an impact by voting and that it is important to choose candidates who really promote the interests of the employees.

− The EU election is an important opportunity to influence. Now is the time for all of us to remember and be reminded that by voting we can support workers’ rights.

PAM’s council was held on 22-23 May 2024 in Helsinki. At the meeting, many speeches were given by council members and greetings were heard from employees all over Finland.

Text and photos: Minttu Sallinen