The concrete financial benefits of membership are considerable, but the membership dues entitle one to very much more. The most important task of OAJ is to protect the interests of its members with respect to salaries and terms of employment.
OAJ looks after its members’ interests at all levels: nationally, regionally and locally. It also provides them with information on their status both as professionals and as employees. In this way union membership does much to improve teachers’ sense of professional identity.
The greater the strength in numbers that teachers can muster, the more influence they can have on negotiations regarding conditions of employment. As a union with over 120 000 members, representing about 95% of the country’s teachers, OAJ can exercise a considerable influence on decisions regarding the working lives of teachers and their status within society. The results of the union’s work in safeguarding teachers’ interests can be seen in many everyday matters.
OAJ's recent achievements
- prevention of the laying off of teachers by many local authorities and the declaration of the laying off of teachers during the summer holidays as illegal
- the principle that teachers’ salaries should continue to be paid during summer and other recesses
- guaranteeing of a favourable trend in teachers’ salaries
- time for the joint planning of teaching and the payment of salaries for this
- separate instructions on working hours for kindergarten teachers, also including paid hours for joint planning
- a separate collective bargaining agreement for the teaching profession
- safeguarding of the jobs of all teachers
- services of a shop steward and work safety delegate for all teachers
- legal protection and liability insurance for all teachers
- an established and respected position for OAJ as a negotiator on behalf of the teaching profession
- a powerful position for OAJ within the Federation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland Akava and in the Association of Public Sector Professionals
- a powerful role for OAJ in influencing educational policy in Finland.