On Monday, the Confederation of Automotive and Transport Workers (AKT) announced that bus drivers, maintenance garage staff, and stevedores in Finnish ports would go on strike on Wednesday and Thursday. The strikes will affect approximately 10,000 employees and are a result of the government’s weakening of working life, according to AKT.
Ilkka Oksala from the Finnish Confederation of Finnish Business (EK) expressed disappointment in the AKT’s announcement and stated that the strikes are beginning to have a significant impact on the Finnish economy. He also warned that continuing the strikes could have a growing effect on companies operating in Finland. Around 100,000 workers participated in this week’s strikes alone, according to Oksala.
The strikes are in opposition to the Orpo government’s working life reforms, which are supported by parliament. Trade unions view these reforms as weakening their position as employees. Katarina Murto, chair of the OAJ, expressed regret over the strikes and called for SAK to come to the negotiation table to build a new salary formation model together with other unions.
EK believes that the Finnish economy’s problems are deep enough that even though they disagree with trade unions on labor market policies, they still support painful working life reforms as long as they are approved by parliament through democratic processes. EK did not protest against previous governments’ labor market policies when they disagreed on multiple issues.