Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) has expressed his frustration that the costs of political strikes are invariably borne by innocent parties in Finland.
Sipilä was one of five party chairpersons who raised their hand when asked if they are prepared to limit the right to stage political strikes in a debate event organised by the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) in Helsinki on Wednesday.
“The right to stage a political strike is completely unlimited in Finland,” he said, suggesting that trade unions have exercised the right excessively to apply pressure on democratic decision-making.
He added that the issue should be discussed thoroughly while taking into consideration the approaches taken elsewhere in the Nordics, for example in Sweden.
Minister of Finance Petteri Orpo (NCP) similarly called attention to the measures adopted in the neighbouring countries, saying they have successfully improved industrial relations and, as a result, boosted both competitiveness and employment. He voiced his hope that also trade unions are willing to sit down and discuss how industrial peace could be maintained going forward.
“What we saw a couple of weeks ago is behind the times,” he stated.
The other three party chairpersons to express their willingness to limit the right to political strikes were Sampo Terho of the Blue Reform, Sari Essayah of the Christian Democrats and Anna-Maja Henriksson of the Swedish People’s Party.
Terho proposed that unionised employees be allowed to decide independently whether to participate in political strikes. Essayah viewed that businesses should be entitled to compensation for losses incurred due to political strikes because they are in an unfair situation due to their non-involvement in the strikes.
Henriksson, meanwhile, said Finland should increase the participation of employees in the decision-making processes of businesses, a measure that has produced good results in Sweden.
Antti Rinne of the Social Democrats, Pekka Haavisto of the Green League, Li Andersson of the Left Alliance and Jussi Halla-aho of the Finns Party contrastively did not raise their hand when asked if the right to stage political strikes should be limited in Finland.
Jyri Häkämies, the chief executive of EK, demanded last month that the maximum duration of political strikes be limited and that all such strikes be organised outside working hours.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi