When a member of a trade union, one pays membership dues. In Finland, this is practical and convenient, as most employers deduct union membership dues directly from the wage or salary and pass it on to the union. On joining the union, the new member is signing a contract to accept the direct due payment to his or her union.
The Industrial Union membership dues are now 1.33 per cent of taxable income. From the beginning of the year 2022, this will be cut to one per cent. This amount includes the unemployment fund contribution.
This contribution goes to the newly formed Open Unemployment Fund A-kassa that will start operating on January the 1st. The contribution to A-kassa will be a flat rate of 8 euros per month for all members.
All current members of the Unemployment Fund of Finnish Industrial Workers will be transferred automatically to the new fund. No need to take any action.
The system where employers collect the union dues has been in use in Finland since the 1970s. Since then, it is included in most of the collective agreements. The same procedure is widely used also in Norway and Sweden.
A major part of the collective agreements in Finland are generally binding. In this case all employers in the given branch are obliged to follow the minimum salaries and other terms of work set out in the branch-level collective agreement. Due to this, most employers are doing their bit in collecting union dues.
The system where employers collect the union dues has been in use in Finland since the 1970s.
However, 23 per cent of the Industrial Union members pay their dues themselves to the union. For example, in the agricultural sector the share of those paying the dues themselves is higher than in other sectors.
This might depend on the structure of the working places in the agricultural sector: many small employers, a lot of seasonal work and short-time employment.
But there is another, more serious reason. Some union members might feel that they do not want their employer to know that they are in the union. In Finland, there is full freedom of organising, and it is strictly illegal to discriminate against anyone on the basis of union membership.
Unfortunately, discrimination still happens as all employers do not always obey the law. But this is exactly why everyone should join the union in such workplaces. Only together we are strong.
What to do if your membership dues have been delayed for some reason? Call the union and ask for advice. The union staff also tries to call a member with overdue fees to avoid anyone´s membership being terminated against his or her wishes. In many cases it is down to some mistake, generally not due to any real wish to leave the union.