The Long Engagement: Companies and corporatism in Finland, 1940–2020

A research project (2016–2018)

In January 1940, Finnish employers’ organisations recognised trade unions as negotiation partners. This event, known as “the January Engagement”, is generally considered to be one of the most important events in Finnish 20th century economic and social history. During the following decades, a corporatist system gradually emerged. Currently, over 70 per cent of employees are members of trade unions. These unions and employers’ organisations are influential actors in the society. In this project, we study the history of Finnish corporatism, and above all the actions of employers’ organisations. Why did they support the formation of corporatist structures? Since the 1990s, the employers have advocated the end of tripartite agreements, but have nevertheless often agreed to participate nevertheless. Why?

The research is funded by Emil Aaltonen Foundation,

Research group: Niklas Jensen-Eriksen, Maiju Wuokko, Henrik Tala, Elina Kuorelahti