Restricting the right to strike has been a long-term goal of employers. A Government proposal on this subject will probably be ready by 15 October 2023.
While the trade union movement has been consulted in preparing this proposal, its ability to influence the content has been purely hypothetical.
In accordance with the Nordic practice, the exercise of the right to political industrial action will be limited to protests lasting no longer than one day.
Finland has seen few political strikes in the new millennium, but this did not discourage the Government from singling them out.
The international commitments of Finland include recognition of a right to strike on political grounds, for example under principles adopted by the International Labour Organisation of the United Nations (ILO). The ILO has held that trade unions must be able to call protest strikes and express their views on social issues, even where these are not directly a topic of collective bargaining. The ILO operates on a tripartite principle, meaning that employers are also committed to its agreements and principles.
Besides the agreements of the ILO, freedom of association and the associated right to engage in industrial action are enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and in the Constitution of Finland. The European Convention on Human Rights has statutory force in Finland.
The Government will amend legislation to make solidarity action subject to a duty to notify in accordance with an assessment of proportionality and the Act on Mediation in Labour Disputes. Lawful solidarity action will have to be proportionate to the objectives, with an impact that is confined to parties to the industrial dispute.
Sympathy strikes enable a trade union to support the industrial action of another trade union, or they allow workers organised in other collective bargaining sectors of the same trade union to support workers in some particular sector other than their own. Unions use sympathy strikes to accelerate collective bargaining in exceptionally difficult circumstances. Sympathy strikes are lawful if they are called in support of already lawful industrial action.
An individual penalty payment of EUR 200 imposed on employees taking part in industrial action that has previously been found unlawful, regardless of the party responsible for organising the industrial action.
Individual employees cannot be fined, with liability instead always borne by their union.
The level of a compensatory fine for unlawful industrial action will be increased, with the maximum amount set at EUR 150,000 and the minimum amount set at EUR 10,000.
There is no lower limit for a compensatory fine, and the upper limit is EUR 31,900.