Industrial Union to shut down Neste’s oil refinery – Political strikes expand to the heavy processing industry

On 28 December, the Industrial Union announced political industrial action affecting the Kilpilahti and Kokkola industrial areas. The measures will lead to the shutdown of production in the industrial areas. The industrial action is a protest against the attacks on workers by the Orpo and Purra government. Neste’s oil refinery will also be shut down completely. Sami Ryynänen, the Chief Shop Steward at Neste, commented on the Neste shutdown on behalf of the Industrial Union.

“The government is hitting hard at the heart of workers’ benefits, rights and working conditions. That is why employees have no option but to respond in kind. The decision to shut down the oil refinery is a response to the government’s refusal to negotiate on its harmful changes to working life.

“We hope the suspension of oil refining will make the government understand that it cannot force the entire burden of the state’s finances onto the shoulders of workers. The cuts that have already been implemented have pushed 17,000 children below the poverty line. All are the children of working families,” said Chief Shop Steward Ryynänen.

“The shutdown of the Kokkola and Kilpilahti industrial areas is just a warning shot”

During the past autumn and winter, the Industrial Union has arranged walkouts and work stoppages around Finland in protest against the government’s attacks on workers. An estimated 50,000 industrial workers from the Industrial Union’s bargaining sectors have participated in the industrial action. Riku Aalto, Chairman of the Industrial Union, said that the union will not back down in the face of attacks on working life.

“We cannot accept the weakening of working conditions and workers’ rights. The shutdown of the Kokkola and Kilpilahti industrial areas was a tough decision, but it is just a warning shot. More and more industrial action is still to come unless the government engages in discussions in good faith on the issues of workers’ positions,” said Aalto.

Duration, scope and strike limits of the industrial action

The announced industrial action consists of two days of political strikes on 1 and 2 February 2024. The Industrial Union is announcing its industrial action at this stage to allow sufficient time for the safe shutdown of production. The union endeavours to ensure plant safety under all circumstances and avoid damage to the environment, equipment and property. The work stoppages do not apply to emergency work or work necessary to protect life and health.

More information about the workplaces taking part in the strikes is available here.

Additional information:

  • Riku Aalto, Chairman, +358 400 711 072
  • Sami Ryynänen, Chief Shop Steward at Neste, +358 50 458 2218
  • Toni Laiho, Director of the Chemical Sector (enquiries about strike limits, plant safety and the security of supply), +358 50 303 9272