SDP to challenge government over “labour market chaos”

The Social Democratic Party (SDP), the largest opposition group in Parliament, plans to challenge the cabinet over what it calls “the labour market chaos caused by the government”.

“The government is stubbornly sticking to its confrontational labour market policies and has so far refused all initiatives to resolve the situation. The SDP will file a parliamentary interpellation over the labour market chaos,” SDP chair Antti Lindtman said in a press release on Wednesday.

According to Tytti Tuppurainen, leader of the SDP parliamentary group, Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) has been unable to provide any answers that would calm the labour market situation.

“The prime minister has the keys, but the leadership is missing. That’s why the SDP considers it necessary to file this interpellation,” said Tuppurainen, who oversaw European affairs and ownership steering until last year in the government led by Sanna Marin (SDP). Lindtman succeeded her as SDP chair last September.

Parliament opened its spring session on Tuesday amid another wave of political strikes intended as protests against the right-wing government’s plans to roll back the rights of workers and unions – including limits to the right to strike – while also making cuts to the social security safety net.

The SDP has close traditional ties to the labour movement, which supplies significant amounts of its campaign funding, for instance.

Purra: “Everything is just no, no, no”

Tuesday’s discussion about balancing state finances and labour market reforms turned into a heated debate, especially between opposition leader Lindtman and Orpo, who has been premier for nearly eight months.

“Quite a mess has been created in a short time. Who is going to clean this all up?” Lindtman asked Orpo.

Orpo, meanwhile, accused the opposition of fomenting the confrontation. Finance Minister Riikka Purra (Finns) also joined in the criticism.

“You oppose every austerity measure; you oppose every reform. Everything is just no, no, no,” she said.

Orpo’s NCP has 48 seats in the 200-seat legislature while the Finns Party has 46 and the SDP has 43.

The other six parties all have much smaller delegations. Some of them joined SDP-led interpellations against the government last autumn, but the fourth-largest Centre Party, in particular, has aimed for a more independent tack.

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