Finland’s Industrial Union to continue political strikes

The Industrial Union has announced plans to extend an ongoing political strike into a fourth week.

The work stoppages, which began nearly three weeks ago, are set to continue from 1-7 April, the union said in a press release on Thursday.

The political strikes are a protest against Prime Minister Petteri Orpo‘s (NCP) government’s planned labour market reforms, according to the union.

According to the union’s president, Riku Aalto, the government’s social benefit cuts have already had a “stark impact” on workers’ lives.

“Every day, there are articles in the news about how ordinary working people are forced out of their homes as the cuts bite. This is unfair and wrong. No one should have to move out of their home because of reckless cuts,” Aalto said in the release.

Aalto thanked 7,000 union members for taking part in the political strikes, while the union called on the government to reach a resolution through further negotiations.

SAK also extends political strikes

According to the Industrial Union, the compromises suggested by the blue-collar union confederation SAK were in line with the government programme’s objectives — particularly the proposals regarding local labour agreements.

“If the local agreement reform is implemented as proposed, it will undermine the protection of minimum working conditions. Weak local agreements can be used to cut wages and extend working hours. And when one company does it, all the others will be tempted to follow,” Aalto said in the release.

“The position of shop stewards must be protected, the universally binding nature of collective agreements must be strengthened, and credible means of monitoring local agreements must be established,” he continued.

On Wednesday, SAK, the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions, announced plans to extend its political strikes for at least another week.

Regarding the political strikes’ effect on the public, the Industrial Union said the stoppages would not extend to emergency work or essential tasks which protect life and health.

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