Shipping containers at the Vuosaari Harbour in Helsinki on 8 April, the first day after the conclusion of a political strike that had halted the handling of cargo at the harbour for four weeks. The Finnish Parliament on Wednesday voted in favour of government proposals to restrict the right to strike, setting a 24-hour limit on political strikes and a two-week limit on other industrial actions targeted at government policies. (Kimmo Penttinen – Lehtikuva)

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THE GOVERNMENT of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) has secured the requisite parliamentary support for its proposals to put a lid on political and solidarity strikes, reports YLE.

Members of the Parliament on Wednesday voted 107 in favour to 57 against to pass the series of bills, with the nay votes coming from three opposition parties – the Green league, Left Alliance and Social Democrats.

All 91 ruling-party members who were present at the vote supported the bills, along with all 15 lawmakers from the Centre Party and one from Movement Now. Thirty-five lawmakers were absent from the vote.

The bills will limit the duration of political strikes to a maximum of 24 hours and that of other political industrial actions, such as overtime and shift-swap bans, to a maximum of two weeks. The Parliament’s Employment and Equality Committee introduced a handful of amendments to the bills, including a 12-month waiting period for resuming political industrial actions in pursuit of a particular objective.

The committee also specified the conditions for imposing a 200-euro penalty payment on employees participating in unlawful strikes.

A decision on when the restrictions will come into effect will be made later.

The bills are part of a set of government initiatives that have sparked widespread protests from trade unions, including a four-week strike that halted the handling of cargo at key export ports and disrupted goods deliveries. The Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) has estimated that the strike dented the gross domestic product by hundreds of millions of euros.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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