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The voice of Finnish employees in Brussels from the beginning of EU membership

The Finnish trade union representation has been based in Brussels since 1995. FinUnions celebrated its anniversary in 2020, when it was 25 years since the office was founded. But the EU integration of employees began much earlier.

25 years in Brussels defending wage-earners

You can read FinUnions’ history book written by Seppo Tamminen, a Finnish reasearcher, in Finnish online. We also have the pleasure of publishing a summary in English prepared by Kari Tapiola, former Deputy Director-General of the ILO, who as International Affairs Director of SAK participated in the process from 1988 to 1996. The summary is found in English here.

FinUnions’ 25th anniversary celebrated in December 2021

Commemorations related to FinUnions’ 25th anniversary can be directed to the work of the Finnish Seamen’s Mission: FI91 1745 3000 0222 79 (IBAN) with the reference FinUnions 25.

A warm thank you for your gift!

The Finnish Seamen’s Mission, founded in 1875, is a neutral non-profit association, whose mission is to be the church and meeting place for Finnish people abroad. The Seamen’s Mission on Finnish shores are local centres for international seafarers, where the aim of the work is advancing of seafarer’s well-being and safety of seafaring. The Finnish Seamen’s Mission is with you at home and abroad. There are almost 300 000 encounters per year at the meeting place that the Finnish Seamen’s Mission offer.

Abroad you will find Finnish Seamen’s Mission in Athens, Brussels, Hamburg, London, and Rotterdam. The other working areas are Great Britain, Ireland, Northern Germany, Spain, Luxemburg, Poland, and South-East Asia. Read more here.

FinUnions’ directors tell all

In the following blos, FinUnions’ previous directors talk about their time in charge of the office.

Heikki Pohja: Suomen ay-liikkeen eurooppalaisen edunvalvonnan alkutaipaleelta

Ari Åberg: Tiivistyvän edunvalvonnan aikaa 2007–2010

Risto Kousa: Talouskurimuksesta kohti talouskuria

Pekka Ristelä: Sosiaalisen Euroopan käännettä todistamassa

A long tradition of EU cooperation


EU co-operation between wage earners began in the early 1990s, when Finland began negotiations on EU membership. At that time, central organizations of trade unions and several trade unions were already themselves involved in European labour organizations.

The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK had been a member of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) since the 1970s. STTK joined the ETUC in the early 1990s.

At the time, two important guidelines were drawn up in the central organizations: First, it was found that EU lobbying required close cooperation from all organizations. Secondly, it was decided to support Finland’s goal to seek EU membership. In order to promote these two main objectives, a joint EU lobbying office was set up. It initially operated in Finland for a few years, until the unit moved to Brussels in 1995 under the wings of an EU membership.