STOP now! demonstration – frequently asked questions

The SAK and STTK employee confederations are inviting people and organisations to a mass demonstration to be held in Helsinki Senate Square between 12:00 and 14:00 on Thursday 1 February 2024. The STOP now! demonstration is a protest against government measures that are endangering individual security and livelihoods.

Click here for further details of the demonstration in Finnish.

Why do we need the STOP now! demonstration?

This political demonstration stresses that we cannot accept a government policy that is drastically increasing inequality in Finland. The government is making an exceptionally broad effort to disrupt the rights of employees at work, the livelihoods of unemployed workers and their families, and the ability of trade unions to defend their members.

It has ignored organisations that represent the public, and has disregarded concerns about the cumulative impact of various cuts.

What is the aim of the demonstration?

We want to send a strong message to the government that its measures do not enjoy popular support.
Our demand is STOP now! This means that the government must suspend its efforts to introduce damaging changes and cuts, and it must find a new direction for Finland. We are not opposed to progress in the world of work, but we cannot accept unreasonable cuts. Laws that affect the status of employees must be drafted in a more balanced way that listens to the voice of workers.

Our New Year Review sets out the cuts that have already been decided and are taking effect.

Why are we demonstrating now?

This is our last opportunity to press for changes in the package of government cuts affecting employees before significant parts of the package are finally decided. Parliament is due to consider a Government proposal in the spring for a law limiting the right to strike, and the final report of a working group examining the entire subject of local collective bargaining will be completed on 1 February. Work is continuing to introduce gradual reductions in earnings-related unemployment benefit and other cuts in social welfare. Further details of government cuts are explained online at

We lobbied against these cuts throughout the autumn, discussing, negotiating, appealing, and submitting requested statements, and although our position was amplified through regional and national statements, we found that the outcome in terms of legal changes had already been decided, and that the statutory lobbying channels were illusory and ineffective.

What will happen at Senate Square?

The Senate Square programme will include interviews, music, hot drinks, buns, pea soup, grilled sausages and other refreshments. The demonstration will be hosted by the well-known compères Sanna Stellan and Eeva Vekki. They will be interviewing trade union leaders, representatives of civic organisations, governing and opposition parties, and the Presidents of SAK and STTK, Jarkko Eloranta and Antti Palola. Most of these interviews will be in Finnish.

Music at the demonstration will be provided by DJ Misterhustla and Jukka Poika & DJ.

Placards and other suitable demonstration props will also be distributed at Senate Square. You may also bring your own signs, but please note that we do not accept any discriminatory, hateful or violent messages or symbols, and we reserve the right to remove them from the demonstration. We also hope that no political party banners will be displayed.


All times are provisional.

Why are we here? SAK Director Saana Siekkinen and STTK Director Minna Ahtiainen discuss the planned government cuts in social welfare and workers' rights

Speeches from partners involved in the demonstration

Interviews with trade union leaders

Interviews with governing party representatives: Minister of Labour Arto Satonen (National Coalition Party) and MP Miko Bergbom (Finns Party)

Interviews with opposition party representatives: Party chairs Antti Lindtman (Social Democratic Party) and Li Andersson (Left Alliance Party)

Concluding remarks and summary by SAK President Jarkko Eloranta and STTK President Antti Palola

Jukka Poika & DJ

Who can take part in the demonstration?

Everyone who is concerned about this government policy direction is welcome to join the demonstration. We cannot accept any kind of discriminatory, hateful or violent messages or symbols, and we reserve the right to remove them from the demonstration. We also hope that no political party banners will be displayed.

Several trade unions have called strikes on the day of the demonstration (see list in Finnish). Taking part in the demonstration will be a good way to make this a memorable day if you are on strike. Some unions have also issued a demarcation decision enabling members who are not on strike to take part in the demonstration in the middle of their work shifts. Contact your own shop steward or trade union for further details.

Can I bring a child to the demonstration?

There is no age limit for this demonstration, and children are welcome to take part in the care of a parent or guardian. The demonstration will comply with safe space guidelines, with security provided by stewards and the police.

How can I get to the demonstration?

We especially hope that participants arriving from the Helsinki region will travel to Senate Square by public transport. The transport sector trade unions have assisted by excluding public transport from their political strikes on Thursday 1 February.

We will also arrange our own transportation to the demonstration from various locations in Finland to give as many people as possible an opportunity to take part. This bus and train service will be free of charge, but will require prior registration by clicking on this link (before 15:00 on Wednesday 31 January). Here you will find all of the available routes after specifying your trade union or the organisation that you represent. You will see the stops and timetable after selecting a route. After agreeing that your details may be recorded for practical purposes related to the transportation service ("Kyllä"), you may then confirm your registration by clicking on the "Ilmoittaudu" (sign up) button at the bottom of the form. Return transportation departing after the demonstration will also be reserved automatically for everyone who registers.

Will the demonstration involve strikes?

SAK and STTK are calling for a political demonstration. The trade unions will make their own independent policy decisions on participation and any related industrial action, and will announce the scope and duration of any strikes within the notification periods specified in their own collective agreements. Click here for details of political strikes called by SAK unions (in Finnish).

The transport sector trade unions have excluded public transport from their political strikes on Thursday 1 February 2024.

Why are these strikes taking place?

The strikes of one or more days called by trade unions at the turn of January-February and the demonstration convened by the national SAK and STTK labour confederations on 1 February coincide. Strikers may join the demonstration and thereby amplify the impact of their industrial dispute. These political strikes are lawful, and are directed against the actions of the national Government.

They are a means for the trade unions to resist the Government's imminent intention to enact several laws that would impact the status of employees. The Government has already made decisions that undermine people's ability to manage just when they are most in need of help.