Industrial Union announces a two-week strike for March

Industrial Union has announced political strikes that will last for a total of two weeks. The announcement was given today, on March 6th.  The walkouts will take place from 11 to 24 March.  The purpose of the strikes is to demand Petteri Orpo’s government to start negotiations with the employee side.  According to Riku Aalto, the Chair of the Industrial Union, the government has not requested a mandate during the parliamentary election in order to dismantle the Nordic labour market model.  Instead Aalto considers that both talk and actions regarding cuts targeting low-income people as well as defending terms of employment and the right to strike are in apparent contradiction.

“For a politician speaking in modified truths, the worst possible opponent is a political strike, as politicians do not want the employees to have an opportunity to challenge the inconsistencies between talk and actions inbetween elections.  The right to strike will be limited in order to further weaken the employees status’.”

“The government was not granted a mandate during the parliamentary election to allow them to turn the Nordic labour market model into an Eastern European labour market model, where unemployment and job security are weak and the employees do not have the opportunity to have an effect on workplace matters.  These strike actions are severe, because we are dealing with fundamental questions.”

“We are calling for genuine negotiations and want to remind that the Finnish way has been to agree on worklife questions with the affected parties.”  The government cannot escape a labour market crisis by burying their heads in the sand and comparing the labour union movement to a criminal organisation”, says Aalto.

For the Industrial Union, most of the worries in regards to government actions are related to local agreements.  The union has named the local agreement unit ‘the taxi reform of the labour market’, because it can be reasonably compared to the failed taxi system decontrol scheme.  Due to the government’s labour market amendments, weak local agreements will become a fixed part of the Finnish labour market, and will be left with no control.   If the local agreement scheme proceeds in the way it has been prepared by the government, the realisation of minimum terms of employment cannot be guaranteed.

“The silent objective of the local agreement scheme is to lower wages and increase working hours.  This is best accomplished with weak local agreements that are intended to ease into workplaces after the agreements have been released.”

“Unfortunately, despite the solemn affirmations of Prime Minister Orpo and Minister of Employment Satonen, the concerns raised by the employees regarding the defects detected in the preparation of the local agreement scheme have been completely ignored.  With the taxi reform of the labour market, our honest, Finnish entrepreneurs will soon lose competitive biddings as shady operators are able to legally trample on the terms of employment,” Aalto continues.

The strikes reported by the Industrial Union will be organised as a two-week walkout between 11 and 24 March 2024. The strikes will involve around 4,000 industrial workers.  The strikes do not extend to emergency work or to work that is necessary for the protection of life and health.  The Industrial Union is willing to cooperate in order to ensure critical actions of the authorities and security of supply during the walkouts.  The Union will take all potential contacts of the authorities seriously.

Sites subject to these strikes are as follows:

Neste – Kemi terminal, Neste – Kokkola terminal, Neste – Naantali refinery, Neste – Porvoo refinery.  Okmetic – Vantaa, Outokumpu Chrome – Tornio plant, Outokumpu Stainless – Tornio, SSAB Europe – Raahe, SSAB Europe – Raahe Rautatehdas ruokalaosuuskunta.

More detailed information about the establishments affected by the strikes is available here.