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    Know your Rights

    As the fall is arriving and new researchers and PhD students begin their work at the universities, it is a good time to remind everyone of the importance of belonging to a trade union.

    Especially now, when there are economical difficulties, it is important for the employees to organize. There is always power in numbers.

    Trade unions, especially FUURT, offer their members many things. For some reason, it seems that the trade unions are often associated especially with the better unemployment benefits (earnings based benefits), but trade unions do offer their members a lot more than just unemployment benefits. I will not list all membership benefits here, but there is a link at the end where you may find a list of the benefits offered by FUURT.

    FUURT's main focus as a trade union is at the universities. FUURT is also a part of the collective bargaining system and thus has power to affect the Collective agreement. Being a part of the negotiations also gives FUURT better understanding of the collective system and what has been agreed upon in the Collective agreement. This way we can help our members with their questions about their employment at the universities. For example, members often have questions about the salary system in the collective agreement, since it is not a very simple system to comprehend.

    The local employees' representatives, the shop stewards, are there to locally help the members and are located at each campus. The shop stewards may advice members regarding the collective agreement, local practices, assist you in possible hearings at the work place and also negotiate on members' behalf.

    If you enter into a contract with the university, be it an employment contract, IPR-contract, a termination of the employment relationship or any other employment related contract, you may always seek consultation at FUURT.

    Also, if there are difficulties at the work place, bullying, harassment, the employer looking to terminate the employment relationship for some reason, or any other such difficulties, FUURT can assist you in these matters. Also if you have been working under several fixed-term contracts and want to know whether there has been a legal premise for those or you feel you were for example illegally terminated, FUURT can help you by assessing the situation and negotiating with the employer. If need be and the matter proceeds into court, FUURT provides their members a legal insurance up to 10.000 euros to help a member with the legal fees.

    FUURT also provides its members consultation in non-labor law related matters via law firm Eversheds Attorneys.

    Look out for your local "Know your rights" seminars and come hear more about your rights as a university employee.

    For further details, please visit www.tieteentekijoidenliitto.fi, especially http://tieteentekijoidenliitto.fi/en/membership/membership_benefits

    text Mia Weckman lawyer, the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers

    • Painetussa lehdessä sivu 37