Chemicals and textiles unions to merge

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In March 2002, the Chemical Workers' Union and the Textile and Garment Workers' Union - two blue-collar trade unions affiliated to the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) - signed a letter of intent to merge. The new union, which will be SAK's third-largest affiliate, should begin operations in June 2004.

On 22 March 2002, two blue-collar trade unions affiliated to the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (Suomen Ammattiliittojen Keskusjärjestö, SAK) - the Chemical Workers' Union (Kemianliitto) and the Textile and Garment Workers' Union (Tekstiili- ja vaatetustyöväen liitto, Teva) - signed a letter of intent to merge. It is planned that the new union will start operations in June 2004. With 51,000 members, it will be SAK's third-largest member union. The two unions plan to negotiate the details of the merger prior to signing an agreement in May 2003.

The two unions have announced that, through this merger, they aim to increase their influence at both the international and national levels. They intend to eliminate the overlap of functions, thus freeing resources and offering opportunities to make their activities more effective, besides creating space for new functions. The purpose is also to save costs. The new union will have a new name and new rules, but present collective agreements and bargaining areas will remain in place.

The planned Kemianliitto-Teva merger is the latest in a series of union mergers in Finland. SAK, the largest union confederation with over 1 million members, has recently seen four service sector affiliates merge in November 2000 to create the 200,000-strong Service Unions United (Palvelualojen Ammattiliitto, PAM), the second-largest union in the country (FI0101172N). In May 2001, four unions affiliated to the white-collar Finnish Confederation of Salaried Employees (Toimihenkilökeskusjärjestö, STTK) merged to form the Union of Salaried Employees (Toimihenkilöunioni, TU), with 130,000 members (FI0106189N).

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