Information about the Finnish Ship’s Officers’ Union


A trade union brings together employees working in the same industry or for the same employer, or who otherwise share similar interests. The roots of the trade union movement in Finland go all the way back to the 19th century.

The union originates from local ships’ officers’ associations founded in the largest port cities where ship’s officers discussed mutual issues related to their occupation. The first ship’s officers’ associations were established in Turku and Pori in 1868. Officers, navigating officers and skippers were accepted as members of the associations.

On 4 October 1905, a group of officers met in Turku with the aim of finding out possibilities for establishing a nationwide association to ‘promote the rights and interest of ship’s officers as well as the general interest of groups’, as was stated in the letter addressed to the future board of the union. The operations began in 1906. The union was given its current name, the Finnish Ship’s Officers’ Union, in 1921.

The rules and regulations of the union

The union’s current rules and regulations were adopted at the annual meeting of 1990 as well as in an extraordinary meeting held on 23 February 1991. Certain small amendments have been made to the rules since, most recently in the annual meeting of 2015.

Section 2 of the rules and regulations is as follows: ‘The purpose of the union is to organise the persons employed in officers’ and equivalent positions in the maritime industry to a unified, nationwide organisation as well as use all means necessary to improve the social, wage-related, occupational and educational status of its members, enhance their appreciation in the society and oversee that the common and general rights and interests of its members are met.’

The union aims to implement the purpose of the rules and regulations by preparing an agenda that is verified at the annual meeting.

The union is bilingual and uses Finnish and Swedish as its official languages. Finnish is the language used in the union’s protocols, but these are also translated into Swedish where necessary. The union’s letters to its members and the union journal are available in both languages.

The union has no bias in party politics.