Finland is bracing for a wave of political strikes orchestrated by the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL) in week 7, targeting key sectors across the nation. The strikes, varying in length, aim to challenge the Government's proposed labor reforms, which JHL argues would undermine workers' rights and degrade working conditions. The action will see significant disruptions, notably in early childhood education and care, railway services, and local transportation in major cities, alongside a halt in electricity production at several power plants.
Early childhood education and care facilities will close for two days, from February 13 to 14, impacting both public and private institutions in Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo, and several other municipalities. This move is expected to shutter the majority of daycare centers in the affected areas, directly involving family day carers and personnel services provider Seure in the strike action.
The entire Finnish train network will come to a standstill on Monday, February 12, as rail sector unions join JHL in the strike. This unprecedented disruption in rail services highlights the broad support for the strike actions within the labor sector.
Furthermore, local traffic in Helsinki, Turku, and Tampere will face severe disruptions on February 14 and 15, with tram and metro services completely halted and bus services significantly affected. This will likely cause major inconvenience for commuters and residents in these cities, emphasizing the strike's extensive impact on daily life.
The energy sector will not be spared, as strikes scheduled for February 14 to 16 will cease electricity production in key power plants operated by Kuopion Energia Oy, Enersense IN Oy, and Helen Oy. Although district heating will continue to be supplied through peak-load heating plants, the reduction in electricity production underscores the strikes' potential to affect broader infrastructure and services.
Companies responsible for catering and facility services in several cities will also participate in the strike, indicating the widespread support for JHL's cause across various public service sectors.
JHL President Håkan Ekström emphasizes the urgency of the strikes as a response to the Government's ongoing efforts to curtail the right to strike and implement policies detrimental to workers. The union's actions are part of the central organization SAK's "Serious Grounds" campaign, which protests against the Government's unfair policies.
As Finland prepares for the extensive disruptions these strikes are poised to cause, the message from JHL and supporting unions is clear: negotiations are necessary to prevent the erosion of workers' rights and conditions in the Finnish labor market.