SAK unions suspend political strikes as of 8. April – strikes already called to take place as planned

Meeting on Thursday 4 April, the Executive Board of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) announced that affiliated unions will suspend political strike action from next Monday. The Executive Board will reassess the ongoing situation on 18 April.
04.04. 14:16
Photo SAK.

– The Government has advised us that it will not seek any settlement with employee organisations while strikes continue. No new decisions were made to continue strike action, and we shall now give the Orpo-Purra Government an opportunity to react. The strikes will be suspended as of Monday 8 April. We stand ready negotiate even before this, SAK President Jarkko Eloranta explains.

The unions launched the now suspended programme of strike action on 11 March in opposition to numerous government cuts in working conditions and social welfare. The programme has involved some 7,000 striking 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.

A fair and reasonable approach

Eloranta suggests that the first step towards restoring confidence would be a clear denial from Prime Minister Petteri Orpo of a rumoured accelerated introduction of measures curtailing the right to strike.

– Employees should continue to have a meaningful ability to defend themselves and advance their interests. We have accordingly called for a reasonable approach to anti-strike laws and common sense in expanding local collective bargaining. The Government Programme seeks to impose the wishes of employers unilaterally. We now have an opportunity to find some balance. The ball is in the Prime Minister’s court.

Eloranta expresses concern about the consequences of the Government’s policy program and shortcomings in assessing the impact of measures. The latest round of social welfare cuts took effect on 1 April.

– The Government seems to lack empathy, leaving many families fearful of the upcoming debate on spending limits. Talk of new cuts is growing louder by the day. The measures already taken or planned will have a significant impact on a large segment of the general public. SAK calls on the Government to prepare an assessment of the impacts of measures taken for its own mid-term review in spring 2025. It must issue a commitment to take remedial measures correcting any cuts in working conditions and social welfare that have proven to be unreasonable.