SAK and affiliated unions to continue strikes

Meeting Finnish Minister of Labour Arto Satonen on Wednesday, SAK President Jarkko Eloranta found that the Government remains unwilling to moderate its policy of cuts affecting employees. The Executive Board of SAK then announced that political strikes would continue.
21.03. 09:00
The SAK Executive Board decided to continue the ongoing programme of strikes.

– We are disappointed. We had hoped for a more even-handed approach and some mitigation of hard measures for employees. The government did not compromise, and still intends to implement several industrial policy objectives with negative consequences for employees. Many of these will have no impact on employment or on the balance of public finances. They are not motivated by practicality, but are instead purely ideological, Jarkko Eloranta says. 

Jarkko Eloranta.

SAK has already proposed significant concessions with a view to finding some kind of compromise in a highly charged situation. Eloranta proposed a guarantee of minimum conditions.

– We recommended that the Government should guarantee minimum working conditions for the next decade. While the Government has insisted that it has no intention of abolishing the minimum security provided universally binding collective agreements, it negotiated its Programme without studying the precise consequences of implementing local collective bargaining. A pause at this point would provide time to assess the impacts of broader local collective bargaining, Jarkko Eloranta explains.

The SAK Executive Board decided to continue the ongoing programme of strikes. A total of some 7,000 employees organised in the Industrial Union, the Finnish Transport Workers’ Union AKT, Service Union United PAM, the Finnish Construction Trade Union, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL and the Electrical Workers' Union are on strike.

– We are ready to suspend the strikes at any time if the Government shows some appreciation for the concerns of employees. The Executive Board of SAK will meet again to assess the ongoing situation and the continuation of industrial action next week, Jarkko Eloranta says.

On Tuesday SAK published a survey commissioned from Verian (in Finnish) between 13 and 17 March, indicating that 54 per cent of the Finnish public approve of the strikes called by SAK and its affiliated trade unions. The strongest support comes from young adults, women and employees.

– We still have strong public support, and even though only employees in certain sectors are on strike, this remains a joint effort of the entire SAK confederation. The decision to continue industrial action was unanimous. We are all grateful for the contribution of striking employees, and we are all supporting them and their unions.

Eloranta finds that the callous approach of the Orpo-Purra Government remains a concern of employees and the organisations that represent their interests.

– This Government has been uncaring and deaf to the concerns of ordinary people from the outset, and it remains so. This does not bode well for the future. Many people are now concerned about the likely outcome of the upcoming Government spending limits debate in April.

Details of the strikes and their scope will be updated on the SAK union action page (in Finnish) after they have been announced by the relevant trade unions.