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    Know your Rights

    Work place related Conflict solving at the Universities

    As at all work places, sometimes conflicts arise inside the work place at the University sector as well.

    The universities have some mechanisms to solve these situations, usually a certain protocoll which they follow whenever such a situation arises. Universities also have mandatory work safety committees and work safety personnell to handle matters such as bullying or inappropriate behavior.

    Whenever there is a problem at the work place, for example a bullying situation, an employee must first reach out to their supervisor or if the supervisor is creating the problem, to their supervisor's supervisor. An employee may also contact the employees' work safety representative or the shop steward.

    Sometimes these systems the universities use do not work in practice or sometimes the employer refuses or neglects to act in the matter. If that is the case, the employee can contact the federal work safety authorities at AVI (Aluehallintovirasto). AVI gives advice in conflict situations and may also organize an inspection at the work place if necessary and for example give the employer recommendations. AVI may and also see that the employer fulfills its duty to do handle the situation at hand accordingly.

    It seems that different universities have different ways of solving problems or conflicts at the work place. Some seem to have better understanding of how to solve these kinds of problems and that these situations often need follow-ups for several years even.

    Sometimes the trade unions are also involved in conflict matters, when the member needs for example legal assistance. We at the trade union try to help as best we can, sometimes helping the members answer questions, sometimes possibly taking part in meetings or negotiations at the work place.

    In the end, the employer has a legal responsibility to act to resolve the conflict according to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, after an employee has brough to the employer's attention that there is a conflict situation at the work place. If the employer will not act they may face legal consequences. Trade unions, work safety representatives and shop stewards help employees see these matters through and give assistance and support in difficult situations.

    For further information, please visit https://www.avi.fi/, http://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/kaannokset/1958/en19580299.pdf

    Unemployment security after fixed-term employment

    Does your employment end at the beginning of the summer or at the end of July? You can secure your income with unemployment allowance for the period during which you have no earned income. However, keep in mind the processing period.

    More information on the conditions for claiming earnings-related allowance and the attachments required for the application, for example, are available on the website of the Teachers' Unemployment Fund at www.opetk.fi. There is also a link on our website to the online earningsrelated allowance application service Openetti.

    Teachers' Unemployment Fund's webpages are now also in English. See: www.opetk.fi

    text Mia Weckman
    lawyer, the Finnish union of university researchers and teachers

    • Painetussa lehdessä sivu 42