The first representatives of labour unions begin their work at Fennovoima’s Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant construction site in northern Finland today.
Jouni Karekivi from the city of Oulu has been chosen as the common shop steward. In addition, Mikko Lehtelä from the town of Raahe was appointed as the general health and safety representative. Both have extensive experience in this field: Karekivi in construction and Lehtelä in earth works and the steel industry.
“It’s great to be involved in such a unique project and to have the opportunity to help make sure that employment issues at a big, international construction site are handled in compliance with Finnish labour laws already at the early stages of the project,” Karekivi and Lehtelä note.
Site agreement defines policies of cooperation
The common shop steward and the general health and safety representative are part of the site agreement, which Fennovoima, the plant supplier RAOS Project Oy, and Finnish labour market organizations signed in the spring of 2014.
The site agreement defines the policies of cooperation that the construction site must comply with and ensures that Finnish legislation is followed. The agreement defines e.g. the procedures for information exchange and problem solving, the activities of the site’s labour union representatives, and the practical means for preventing a grey economy.
According to Karekivi and Lehtelä, the cooperation defined in the site agreement provides an excellent basis not only for the smooth progress of the project but also for them to perform their duties as representatives of labour unions.
“Common rules of operation agreed in advance facilitate the work of all actors participating in the project. The site agreement also acts as a guiding principle for our decision making. This is precisely the kind of cooperation and systematic approach required at a construction site that will employ thousands of workers at the peak of the construction phase.
Karekivi and Lehtelä were chosen by the Finnish Construction Trade Union after the interview process. The decision was made by the Finnish Construction Trade Union because it represents the largest sector of industry at the Hanhikivi 1 construction site. Other labour unions involved in the site agreement are the Finnish Metalworkers' Union, Trade Union Pro, the Finnish Construction Trade Union and the Finnish Electrical Workers' Union. The labour unions may appoint their own union representatives as soon as their industry-specific limit of employees at the plant site has been exceeded.
Company and employee information stored in the site register
The project offers plenty of opportunities for Finnish companies and workers. At most, an estimated 4,000 people will be working at the Hanhikivi 1 site. The construction site will have Finnish and foreign workers and an extensive network of subcontractors.
The extensive network of subcontractors will be managed and supervised and a grey economy prevented through good preparations with labour and employer unions, the plant supplier, and different authorities.
In accordance with the site agreement, Fennovoima has introduced a site register for the Hanhikivi 1 construction site. The register contains the current information on all the companies and employees working at the site. To date, the information on a total of 135 companies has been entered in the register; 131 of the companies are Finnish. Additionally, an official authority office will be set up where workers and companies can seek consulting and advice.
For more information:
Fennovoima’s Construction Director Jouni Sipiläinen, tel. +358 20 757 8449
Fennovoima’s Communications Manager Heli Nikula, tel. +358 20 757 8429 (also interview requests for Jouni Karekivi and Mikko Lehtelä)