Jarkko Eloranta, the chairperson of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), spoke to reporters after a press conference in Helsinki on 16 January 2024. Eloranta on Monday said the central organisation is confident that the public understands the decision of several trade unions to stage strikes with potentially noticeable effects on everyday life in Finland. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)


THE CENTRAL ORGANISATION of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) has expressed its regret about the damage caused by the political strikes that are to take place in early February.

Jarkko Eloranta, the chairperson of SAK, on Monday said the central organisation is confident that the public ultimately understands the decision to resort to such forceful measures in protest of the labour market reforms and social security cuts laid out by the government of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP).

“We apologise for the possible harm the upcoming strikes will cause to people,” he said in a press release. “We also hope that announcing the strikes early has enabled people to prepare for what is ahead.”

A series of political strikes are set to disrupt various activities and services in Finland on 1–2 February.

The Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff (Akava) on Monday revealed that its member unions will organise a march-out of two hours on 6 February. Further actions are to be announced today by the Union of Health and Social Care Professionals in Finland (Tehy), the Finnish Union of Practical Nurses (Super) and the Trade Union of Education in Finland (OAJ).

Eloranta on Monday also voiced his frustration with the public discussion surrounding the tense labour market situation.

“The public estimates that the strikes are oversized are evidence of arrogance and alienation from the day-to-day lives of wage earners in Finland,” he argued, seemingly pointing to remarks by Orpo and Minister of Employment Arto Satonen (NCP).

“The government has made itself a party to the labour market. Wage earners are not calling for additional benefits but simply trying to uphold the rules of a fair working life,” he said.

He also rejected the view that companies are surrogate victims of the industrial actions.

“Many of the government’s social security cuts represent goals that industries have long lobbied for. The ideas that swing the balance of working life markedly to the benefit of employers are from the wish list of business lobbies,” stated Eloranta.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT