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24.11.2023 13:37

PAM Council members want to improve employment conditions and the union’s activities

What do PAM Council members expect from the upcoming term? We asked three Council members for their ideas on the future of the union and the Council.

Daniel Sewornu, meetings and events host, Helsinki

– As PAM’s council member, I want to bring up the voice of immigrant workers, their status and their rights. I want to improve working life. I want to advance and make sure that people get a decent salary and better working conditions.

Daniel Sewornu at PAM Council meeting, November 2023

– I have worked in the service sector for almost 20 years and been a member of the union for more than 10 years. I hope that I can use my own example to create trust between the employees and the union. I want to act as a link between immigrants and the union and tell them that PAM helps its members who have immigrant background. I want to make people understand that language skills are not an obstacle to union membership, and to show with my own example that together we can influence Finnish working life.

Sanna Pio, cleaner, workplace deputy head shop steward, Kouvola

– Everything still seems new at the moment, but the Council term will certainly teach me. I think being a PAM Council member is an important task. In the Council we make decisions that influence the work of all PAM members and the union’s activities.

– Being a member of a trade union gives you security. I have also spoken at work about the fact that if problems arise, union members can get help. Legal assistance is available. Membership gives you many benefits and developing these benefits, including training and membership benefits, are important issues.

– I have been a PAM member for over six years. I have been lucky that I have been able to work full-time almost all the time. This is not the case for everyone, but trade union membership provides security and teaches about your rights – so you can demand better.

Jukka Hoffren, head shop steward, cleaner, Joensuu
– I want to draw attention to working conditions and wage development in my sector. PAM’s Council discusses issues that are important for all PAM members. I hope that members don’t hesitate to contact me, whatever their sector or company.

– I started my shop steward career right at the start of the Covid pandemic, then came the war, a tough collective bargaining round and now the Orpo-Purra government’s actions to weaken the position of workers. We are living through big changes all the time.

– Looking at my own sector, I think it is important to increase the sense of community among workers and the union density. Employers are the only ones who benefit if workers are not united. That is why it is important to increase the sense of community and wellbeing of workers, and the union must work to promote this.

PAM membership fees in 2024 unchanged

At its meeting, the Council of Service Union United PAM decided that the union’s membership fees in 2024 are 1.5%. The Council also confirmed that the priorities in the union’s activities in the coming year are to develop the union’s services, activities for immigrants and implementation of the union’s priority action programme and strategy work.

– Next year’s activities will of course be affected by the situation in society, but at the same time we will ensure that PAM’s basic tasks are carried out well and to a high standard at all times. Our strength is that we have active and skilled activists, shop stewards and professional staff, says PAM’s Executive Director Heidi Lehikoinen.

During the 2024 operational year we will be preparing for the upcoming collective bargaining round. The first collective agreement negotiations will start at the end of the year, which means we will be working on our collective agreement objectives and preparations from early in the year. In preparing for the collective bargaining round, the union will build on the good practices of spring 2023.

PAM branches submitted eight motions to the November Council, which were discussed by the Council at its meeting. They included, among other things, areas for improvement in collective bargaining, which PAM’s agreement sector commissions will go through when setting their collective bargaining objectives.

In one motion, PAM Hospitality Sector Turku Branch expressed concern about the appeal and prestige of the restaurant sector. The branch motion suggested that PAM should pay attention to how the sector is talked about and promoted in its activities. In addition, the Turku branch also submitted a motion to the Council to improve services for members with an immigrant background. This has been taken into account in PAM’s 2024 priority action programme, which aims to develop the union’s ways of working and serving its members from an immigrant background in a diverse way.

PAM’s 60-member Council represents union members all around Finland. Council members’ term lasts four years and they were elected at PAM’s Union Congress in October 2023.

Text and photos: Minna Räsänen