Finland the economy has already suffered losses of around one billion euros as a result of the strikes, estimates the head of the Työelämä responsibility area of the Finnish Confederation of Finnish Business (EK) Ilkka Oksala for HS.
The assessment concerns strikes organized within the last couple of months.
The Confederation of Automotive and Transport Workers (AKT) said on Monday that bus drivers and maintenance garage staff will participate in a political strike on Wednesday and Thursday 14-15. February. At the same time, Finnish ports also come to a standstill, as stevedores participate in strikes from Wednesday to Friday.
“The strike affects bus traffic and closes the ports. In total, the AKT strike affects approximately 10,000 employees. The reason for the strikes is the government’s extensive weakening of working life,” says AKT in the press release.
EK’s Oksala says that AKT’s announcement was not a surprise.
“But it was a big disappointment,” he says.
Oksala says that the strikes of ACP and other unions are already starting to have a significant impact on the Finnish economy. According to HS’s conservative estimate, around 100,000 workers from various unions are on strike this week alone.
“When this goes on and on, it starts to have a growing effect on companies operating in Finland,” says Oksala.
Oksala told HS a week ago that wage earners endanger the sustainability of their own companies and thereby their own jobs by striking.
Last during the week, the chairman of the OAJ, the trade union for the teaching profession Katarina Murto regretted both the Prime Minister Petteri Orpon (kok) that the activities of the employee organization SAK. SAK unions are organizing extensive strikes this week against the government’s work life policy.
The Orpo government’s working life reforms are behind the strikes. Trade unions oppose the reforms, as they weaken the position of the employee. Before this week’s strikes, the unions have also gone on strike in December and early February.
OAJ, which is part of Akava, does not intend to participate in strikes. Murto would like SAK to come to the negotiation table to build a new salary formation model together with other unions.
EK’s Oksala says that EK does not hope that the government will come against the workers’ side.
“In our opinion, the problems of the Finnish economy are so deep that it is no longer possible to put our heads in the bush and leave difficult decisions unmade.”
Oksala points out that the government’s working life reforms have already gained the support of the parliament.
“Last year there were parliamentary elections and there were negotiations for no less than two months, there were twists and compromises. After that, the approval of the parliament has been obtained for these reforms,” says Oksala.
“This belongs to parliamentary democracy.”
He emphasizes that EK did not protest more at first Antti Rinne (sd) and later Sanna Marini (sd) led by the labor market policy even though he disagreed on several issues.
Read more: AKT joins the strikes – the strike closes the ports and affects bus traffic