Opetusalan Ammattijärjestö OAJ, the Trade Union of Education is a strong voice for those working in the education, training, and research sectors in Finland. We have over 120 000 members from early childhood education level to university lecturers.
Our members are teachers, managers, researchers, and experts in early childhood education, primary education, high-school education, universities of applied sciences, basic education in the arts, in general education, adult education, and universities.
The unionization rate of teachers is over 90%. The unionization rate is one of the highest 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 and managers such as principals in salary negotiations, education policy and media interaction. In Finnish society, we in OAJ defend teachers’ rights including advocacy for the managers and demand a good working environment for teachers, managers and students.
One single union gives us a clear and strong mandate to defend teachers´ and managers’ status and safeguard the interest of education personnel 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 Finnish National Agency for 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 teachers or as experts in the education sector. OAJ is an organization for all teachers and education sector managers consisting of different teacher groups and categories which have their own platforms and associations within OAJ. It is important that teachers and managers 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 such as the European Trade Union Committee for Education ETUCE and the Nordic Teachers´ Council NLS we participate in the education discussions on global level.
I as the OAJ president welcome you and all teachers and education sector managers to join OAJ to work together with us for better education and better working conditions.
President of OAJ