UNI affiliates Service Union United (PAM) and Trade Union Pro have called a large-scale political strike. On 1 February 2024, workers in Finland’s largest retail chains, numerous hotels and restaurants, traffic stations, property and cleaning service companies, in the paper industry, the financial and ICT sectors will take industrial action.
The strikes come after the right-wing Orpo-Purra government weakened unemployment security and cut housing allowance last year. Now they seem intent on going further, planning to ease dismissal, limit the right to strike and make the first day of sick leave unpaid. And even more cuts will be announced to unemployment security, which will hit those working in the service industry hard.
For instance, more than every sixth wage earner works in sectors where collective agreements negotiated by PAM are applied. “The cuts introduced by the government will affect them, their families, and thousands more. People will lose hundreds of euros more due to these planned cuts if not any changes are made to the proposals. The planned cuts do not encourage or support people’s job search, let alone secure their livelihood. Poverty will increase”, PAM President Rönni-Sällinen explained. “That’s why PAM sees no other option than to demonstrate and resort to a political strike so that the government would change its mind”, PAM President Rönni-Sällinen said. The strike is part of the larger mobilisation #SeriousGrounds called by the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK).
Trade Union Pro also called its members to go on strike at multiple sites across the country. “With its weakening of working life, the Government is changing so many points from the current labour market model that working life will become dramatically more uncertain. Finnish employees deserve and demand better”, said Trade Union Pro President Jorma Malinen.
UNI Europa Regional Secretary Oliver Roethig said: “The Orpo-Purra government’s reforms are anti-worker, anti-union and anti-social. They go directly against stated EU policy to strengthen collective bargaining coverage across Europe. They are unacceptable. That’s why we stand in solidarity with our members in Finland that are going on strike and the countrywide mobilisation against the cutting of social security and labour rights and standards.”