This week, Finland faces a significant halt across various sectors as over 130,000 workers are expected to strike in protest against the government's labor market reforms proposed by Prime Minister Petteri Orpo's administration. The strikes, which are political in nature, are anticipated to widely disrupt societal and economic activities throughout the country.
According to calculations by Helsingin Sanomat, the strikes will majorly impact the country towards the end of the week, with more than 100,000 employees set to walk out from Wednesday to Friday.
The Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) estimates the cost of the strikes this week, along with those following December, to be around one billion euros.
Key sectors affected include rail transport, which will see a complete shutdown on Monday due to a strike by the Railway Union. Early childhood education will also face disruptions on Tuesday and Wednesday as social, health, and education sector unions, including Tehy and Super, commence a 48-hour strike across major cities. The public and private daycare in these cities is likely to be closed.
Although long-distance and local train services were expected to resume on Tuesday, VR announced on Monday evening that all long-distance trains would be canceled for safety reasons following the detection of wheel damage caused by suspected track faults. Local train services will operate normally.
The industrial sector will come to a standstill on Wednesday, with extensive political strikes initiated by the Industrial Union and Pro Union affecting various industries. About 60,000 industrial workers and 7,000 office staff are expected to join the strikes, potentially halting a significant portion of Finnish industry.
Public transport in Helsinki, Tampere, and Turku will also experience widespread shutdowns due to JHL's strike, affecting trams, metros, and bus services. Ports will be paralyzed from Wednesday to Friday due to a dockworkers' strike by the AKT union.
The strikes will extend to the energy sector on Thursday, with the Electrical Workers' Union moving its political strike from the Loviisa nuclear power plant to the Olkiluoto nuclear facility. Other continuing strikes include those by the Service Union United (PAM) in logistics centers and by the Food Workers’ Union SEL and Pro Union in some food industry workplaces.
On Friday, the strikes will expand to include employees of hydroelectric power plants operated by Kemijoki, Tornionlaakson Voima, and Pohjolan Voima, as well as Fortum's Oulujoki hydroelectric plants, all members of the Electrical Workers' Union.
As Finland braces for a week of widespread industrial action, the impact on daily life, from transportation to childcare and industrial production, underscores the significant pushback against proposed changes to the labor market by Finnish workers and their unions.