Akava - Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in FinlandAkava, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland, is a trade union confederation for those with university, professional or other high-level education.
Akava is continuously growingAkava has more than 30 affiliates with altogether half a million unionised members working as employees, entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals in either the public or private sector. The members join one of Akava’s affiliates based on their field of study, degree, profession or position.
The members of all Akava affiliates typically serve in management or expert positions in fields such as education, technology or medicine. Additionally, Akava has 100,000 student members.
In Finland, approximately 70 per cent of all highly educated citizens are members of one of Akava’s affiliates.
Akava affiliates are also open to all university students and most Polytechnic students. In fact, the number of student members is considerable: Akava's Student Counsel represents about 100 000 students.
Akava members work in various management, expert and teaching positions, and they are highly educated experts in their field. One third of Akava members hold managerial or leading positions. The average Akava member is 42 years old, and their estimated average monthly salary in 2010 was about 4100 euro, though this varies considerably by branch.
Collective AgreementsAkava watches over the shared financial, professional, educational and other social interests of its members, as well as safeguarding their status and prestige in society. Akava is politically unaffiliated and independent of any political party.
Together with other central confederations, Akava conducts negotiations over collective wage and labour agreements. The social partners' negotiation mandate includes unemployment benefits, pensions, financial support to adult education and individual worktime account schemes.
Akava's central tasks include a general watching over of its members' interest in society. Akava lobbies decision-makers in the fields of taxation, labour, education and social policy, among others. The lobbying is supported by research and training, as well as local, regional and national activity and publicity work.
As regards collective agreements in the public sector, Akava's collective bargaining mandate is held by Negotiation Organisation for Public Sector Professionals JUKO. In the private sector, the negotiating body is the Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff (YTN), even though certain affiliates negotiate independently.
Regional ActivityAkava is active on several levels. It aims to improve the status of its members through nationwide activity, but the importance of the regional level is also considerable.
Akava has a significant foolhold at the regional level. Its operations are carried out by 15 regional committees. The geographical boundaries of the regional committees are based on those of the Employment and Economic Development Centres, i.e. the principal government office on the regional level.
The regional committees focus on questions related to education, labour force and employment issues, research and innovation activities as well as work life development. They also aim at promoting the vitality of their area and of bringing academic expertise to bear in regional decision-making. The committees are represented, among other bodies, in the co-operation groups of the regional councils, the consultative committees of the employment and economic development centres, and the various committees which these bodies may set up.
The ultimate purpose of regional activity is to promote the members' interest as based on national agreements, while the day-to-day tasks related to this are managed by Akava's negotiating bodies, through shop stewards and the employee representatives in individual workplaces.
International DimensionsEuropean integration strives towards the single labour market. The social partners negotiate unionwide agreements on employment conditions. Akava is active in the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), and especially its division Eurocadres, which looks after professional and managerial staff. Finnish trade union federations operate a joint office in Brussels. Moreover, Akava's representative is a member of the European Economic and Social Committee.
Akava's international activities extend beyond the European Union. Akava co-operates with all the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries and Russia. Akava is also a member of OECD's Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and of the Finnish ILO Committee.
Collective Bargaining Organisation at Akava
- Public Sector Negotiating Commission (JUKO)
- Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff (YTN)