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Matti Hirvola

Matti Johannes Hirvola
Born December 17, 1974, Pori

MA 2004 (General History), University of Helsinki

Project leader (Public relations and communications expert) at SAK, 2015–
Special advisor to Minister of Finance Antti Rinne, secretary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) ministers’ group, 2014–2015
Senior advisor and partner at Miltton Networks, 2013–14
Special advisor to Minister of Finance Jutta Urpilainen, 2011–13
Head of Communications for SDP, 2006–11
Training and organisation secretary at SDP, 2006
General secretary of the Advisory Council for Youth Affairs at the Ministry of Education, 2004–05
Information officer for the Socialdemocratic Youth in Finland, 2002–04
Board member of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL), 2001
Board member of Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY), 2000

Photo: Matti Hirvola
Written by Tero Juutilainen
Translated by Joe McVeigh

Trade Unions and Theory

In August 2015 Matti Hirvola began working in lobbying for the Central Organisation of Trade Unions, SAK. He wants the raise the Organisation’s profile in the national discourse.

– At the moment, the agenda for labour market negotiations is set by the Confederation of Finnish Industries. This is problematic, because the policies of the current government are also more favourable to the employer side. My task is to help SAK and wage-earners in general t better raise their themes and goals in public discourse.

For example, Hirvola says that newspaper headlines are often the result of intense power struggles.

– In a headline the subject is brought forth in certain light that can be used to influence the reader; so right from the start their attitude to what they are reading can be either positive or negative. This does not happen by coincidence. For example, one media outlet published an article with a headline that read ‘One-third think trade unions slow down the economy.’ The same thing could have been phrased as ‘two-thirds think that the source of the slowdown could be found elsewhere.’

Hirvola has also picked up his studies again. This time, however, in Turku.

– I would have liked to switch from my unfinished economics studies at the University of Helsinki to major in political science, but there was no such option. Therefore, I did the required paperwork in Turku and I began studying political science there a few years ago.

Political science has given Hirvola a theoretical foundation for all the work he has done in recent years.

– It has been fun to have a retrospective look on my own activities from an academic perspective. Although I have 'digressed' into Social Sciences, I still consider myself above all a humanities scholar.

Social scientists are well-represented in politics, whereas those with a background in the humanities are considerably fewer in number. Nevertheless, Hirvola feels that they are also needed in politics.

– Education in the humanities can perhaps give a clearer picture of human behaviour and bring depth to assessing political events and phenomena.

A historical perspective also helps one analyse things and to see cause-and-effect relationships.

– If you do not understand the past, you will not understand the present, let alone the future.

A historical perspective helps one see the bigger picture.


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