Riku Aalto, the chairperson of the Finnish Industrial Union, addressed members of the media at a news conference in Helsinki on 20 March 2024. Aalto on Thursday accused the government of pursuing spending cuts that will condemn almost 120,000 people to poverty. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

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THE FINNISH Industrial Union on Thursday revealed that around 4,300 industrial workers will stage a one-day strike at 56 workplaces across Finland on Friday, 5 April.

Staged as part of an ongoing series of protests by the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), the strike is described as an expression of solidarity to the 7,000 workers who are presently on strike for the third consecutive week.

The union emphasised that the strikes will affect neither emergency work nor work to safeguard public health and lives.

Both the ongoing and upcoming strikes are organised in protest of a series of labour market reforms and social security cuts outlined by the government of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP). Trade unions have taken issue, for example, with proposals to restrict the duration of political strikes, to slash unemployment benefits and expand local bargaining.

Riku Aalto, the chairperson of the Industrial Union, on Thursday accused the government of adopting an “unusually harsh” approach to workers.

“As a result of the cuts, poverty among blue-collar workers will increase by 100,000 adults and 17,000 children. Whether you are working or not does not matter. These cuts will hit blue-collar workers across the board. The government’s ‘approach to employment’ is so harsh that even workers are being impoverished,” he claimed in a press release.

SAK on Wednesday announced that what were initially set to be two-week political strikes will be extended by another week until 7 April. The strikes have halted the handling of goods at ports, disrupted rail freight services and fuel distribution, and complicated the operations of production facilities such as pulp and steel mills.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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