Opetusalan Ammattijärjestö

OAJ - The Voice for Teachers

Opetusalan Ammattijärjestö OAJ, the Trade Union of Education is a strong single voice for teachers in Finland.  We have 120 400 members from early childhood education level to university lecturers.

The unionization rate of teachers is 95%. This is one of the highest figures in the world. The membership of the union is, of course, voluntary. However, the high unionization rate is evidence of the strong commitment of Finnish teachers to develop their work, the whole education sector and teachers´ rights and their status.

The unionization rate also shows how successful OAJ´s work has been.

One single union also allows us to use our voice for all teachers in salary negotiations, education policy and media interaction. In Finnish society, we in OAJ defend teachers’ rights and demand a good working environment for teachers and students.

One single union gives us a clear and strong mandate to defend teachers´ status and safeguard the interest of teachers at local, regional and national level.

OAJ also works very closely with universities and teacher education establishments. High quality teacher education is the primary reason for the good results Finland has achieved in education.

During recent years Finland and the Finnish education system have been in the world´s spotlight. There is massive evidence that a strong union is one major factor contributing to the quality of education in Finland.

OAJ works closely together with the members of parliament, government, ministries and the National Board of Education as well as media and parent’s associations. We believe that when decision makers and the union work together, in transparent cooperation, it is best for our society, our children and everyone in the education sector and system.

All OAJ members have a teaching qualification or they work as a teachers or as an expert in the education sector. OAJ is an organization for all teachers consisting of different teacher groups and categories which have their own platforms and associations within OAJ. It is important that teachers have a place to discuss their own special issues and matters which concern only their particular education sector.

For instance OAJ has an association called EKKOL for teachers of non-native cultural background.
In other words, we live in a multicultural and international society and our education has to be developed within this context.

OAJ is looking towards the future. All education decisions we make here in Finland or in the European Union are decisions that affect our children and future generations.

OAJ is also a member of Education International.  In EI and in other organizations as well we participate in the education discussions on global level.

I as the OAJ president welcome you and all teachers to join OAJ to work together with us for better education and better working conditions for teachers.

Olli Luukkainen