The Restructuring of Finnish Trade Unions – the Growing Importance of Women

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18291/njwls.129504

Keywords:

Gender, Ethnicity, Age and Diversity, Identity, Meaning & Culture, Labor Market Institutions & Social Partners

Abstract

The membership profile of Finnish trade unions has changed from male-dominated industrial workers to female-dominated service and public sector workers who are more highly educated. The Finnish labour market is strongly divided into female and male occupations and sectors, and these intersectional differences play an important part in the differentiation of developmental paths. The erosion of membership is mainly due to the rapid growth of the independent unemployment fund (YTK) competing with unemployment funds associated with trade unions. YTK has been much more successful in recruiting private sector male workers than women. Men’s decisions not to join the union are related to the shift in the motivation to unionise from social custom to instrumental reasons. Along with the gender majority shift, union identification has changed, and unions need to carry out ‘identity work’ to attain members. The shift in gender proportions has also had consequences for the collective bargaining system.

Author Biographies

Tapio Bergholm, University of Eastern Finland

Docent

Markku Sippola, University of Helsinki

University Lecturer. E-mail: markku.sippola@helsinki.fi

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Published

2021-12-01

How to Cite

Bergholm, T., & Sippola, M. (2021). The Restructuring of Finnish Trade Unions – the Growing Importance of Women. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies. https://doi.org/10.18291/njwls.129504

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