Opetusalan Ammattijärjestö


OAJ in its present form was founded in 1973. Since 1991, all teachers, from preschool teach­ers to university lecturers, have been eligible for membership of this all-embracing union.

The membership also includes teacher students and retired teachers. The fact that all teachers be­long to one union is exceptional.

Finland’s first teachers’ union was formed towards the end of the 19th century. In the early decades, teachers at various levels of the edu­cational system had their own unions. The prin­cipal aim behind unionization was to strengthen solidarity among teachers and to develop school teaching and pedagogics.

The teachers’ unions emerged as strong champions of teachers’ rights. This progress coin­cided with the reform of the educational system introduced at that time in Finland: the transition from the system of parallel schools to nine-year comprehensive education. The training of classroom teachers was transferred to the universi­ties. At the same time, the structure of the wage-negotiation system was agreed in the labour market. This also saw the various teacher orga­nizations beginning to join forces.