Finland’s transport networks crippled by ongoing national strike action

Finland's transport networks crippled by ongoing national strike action

Finland is hit by a third day of industrial action Friday, with the transport sector crippled by striking workers in trams, trains, buses, ferries, ports, airport and airline operations.  

There are also ongoing strikes in cleaning companies, factories, mines and refineries, construction companies and the postal service. 

Трубочисты Петербурга

Unions called for a wave of industrial action to protest government proposals on labour law reforms which they say would adversely impact low-wage earners and shift a balance of power towards employers when it comes to setting salaries. 

Thursday saw an estimated 300,000 workers take part in the strikes, with 10,000 people attending a rally in the capital Helsinki to denounce the government’s actions, which unions say mean lower wages and less beneficial conditions for workers.

Social Democrat MP Pia Hiltunen says the government’s measures «do not create stability and faith in people’s everyday life.» 

«I am worried about the weakening of working life driven by the government, the consequences of which will primarily affect young people,» said Hiltunen, a member of parliament from the northern city of Oulu. 

«The government’s weakening is visible in people’s everyday life, for example, in the absence of pay for the first day of sick leave, the weakening of earnings-related unemployment insurance and the termination of adult education support. People are rightfully worried about their livelihood and the functioning of everyday life, which is important to defend in this situation.»

The government maintains that their sweeping reforms are needed to make the Finnish economy more competitive

MP Atte Kaleva, from the ruling right-wing National Coalition Party, said the government «would not back down» from enacting the reforms. 

«Finland’s economy has not grown since 2008, unlike in our peer countries Sweden, Denmark, Germany, etc. In those countries, the necessary structural reforms in working life were already carried out 15-20 years ago, but not in ours.»

The National Coalition Party was in government during much of that time, from 2008 to 2015, and again from 2023. 

«We need to balance the economy. It cannot be done in one term, but the direction must change now. Nordic prosperity can no longer be sustained by debt. As a matter of principle, everyone of working age and ability must work,» said Kaleva.


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