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The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers

  • provides researchers, teachers and specialists with an inter-disciplinary sense of community;
  • oversees the interests and equal treatment of its members;
  • is the largest union for individual members of the university and research communities;
  • is a sought-after and reliable partner;
  • defends basic scientific research and the importance of researched information.

The importance of researched information and the demand for university teachers and researchers in society will grow during the strategy period.

The operating environment of university teachers and researchers, however, will be increasingly difficult to manage. In addition to salary and collective agreement issues, the practical terms of scientific work are determined by the government’s scientific policies and its performance management models. The performance management, strategic leadership and profiling measures of the Ministry of Education and Culture limit academic freedom and the equality of education. Universities and polytechnics are seeking new forms of cooperation and common education paths. At the same time, research institutions are undergoing fundamental changes.

The strategy period 2016–2020 will be characterised by drastic cuts in the funding of research and education. The union strives to restore funding to a healthy level.

1. A union of members

The union provides researchers, teachers and specialists with a local and national inter-disciplinary sense of community to reinforce the identity of its members.

  • University teachers and researchers are a community brought together by the production and application of scientific information and an appreciation for the significance that researched information holds for society. Members both unemployed or working in various tasks can think of the union as their spiritual home.
  • The union and its member associations increase awareness of themselves within research communities and universities, but also among students and specialists working elsewhere. They bring out the union’s goals and the benefits of membership from the perspective of individual teachers and researchers.
  • Goals and services are developed in cooperation with members.
  • University teachers and researchers are actively visible in public life.

2. The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers as an advocate and as an operator in the organisational field

The union is a strong advocate of its members’ interests and a reliable partner.

  • The union looks after the interests of members working in the fields of teaching, research, information and of specialists in various tasks alike. It promotes the status of its members who work in both typical and untypical employment relationships and of those who are currently unemployed.
  • The career of a researcher or teacher—even one who is young and in a fixed-term employment relationship—must be open, predictable and fair. Employers must commit to their personnel and the development of personnel policies. Career paths and the procedures for establishing permanent posts must not be limited to concern merely a small minority of teaching and research staff.
  • The remuneration systems of universities must be flexible so that wages can develop on the basis of competence and qualifications.
  • International mobility must be unhindered and international researchers and specialists must be treated equally.
  • Grant and scholarship periods are commonplace in research careers. Those working with the helps of grants and scholarships must be guaranteed good services and an equal position in the workplace.
  • The union takes into account the way in which the work of specialists has changed and changes, and the various forms of working life.
  • Universities and research institutions should implement the measures resulting from the government’s cuts in education spending primarily without redundancies. Equality must be observed in any redundancy situations.
  • The union increases awareness of the status and competence of its unemployed members, develops services that support employment and influences the attitudes of employers.
  • The union demands the active enforcement of equality legislation in the scientific community.
  • Cooperation with other unions active at universities and other organisations important in terms of the union’s activities will be increased and intensified.
  • The union will monitor the effect that the new confederation initiative will have on the organisational field.

3. The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers as a force in university and education policies

The union is a major influence in university and education policies both at home and abroad. It emphasises the importance of researched information in decision-making and defends basic scientific research. The union makes science better known among the public: the actors and operating methods involved and its economic and social significance. University researchers and teachers take part in public debates.

  • The union keeps Finnish scientific work as well as the obstacles to and problems of scientific work in the spotlight. The objective is a comprehensive, high-quality system of higher education and research. Investments in scientific policies should not be allocated partially and universities should not be profiled too narrowly. Universities hold great regional significance.
  • The status of personnel and students in the decision-making of universities should be strengthened.
  • The union supports digitisation and the use of open information pools and operating models. It promotes open science in which researchers can hold on to their rights and in which libraries secure the visibility and permanence of research.
  • The union will influence the Ministry of Education and Culture so that the guidance of the highest degree of education and research would support long-term and productive scientific work, well-being at work and sound personnel policies. It holds a dialogue with political parties and members of parliament to secure the funding of science, particularly that of long-term basic funding.
  • The agencies and other parties that fund scientific work—such as foundations, the Academy of Finland and Tekes—are important partners. Means by which work in research projects and with grants can be organised in a sensible way are being sought in cooperation with sponsors and those receiving the grants and funding.

Strategy for the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers 2016–2020

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