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Finnish trade unions to extend ongoing two-week strikes

Finnish trade unions on Wednesday announced to extend their ongoing two-week strikes after their meeting with Minister of Employment Arto Satonen failed to reach an agreement.

At a press conference in the afternoon, Jarkko Eloranta, the president of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), said the government had not been receptive to the union’s proposals, therefore, they will continue their strikes next week in protest against the government’s labor and social security reforms.

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo told the Finnish News Agency STT that prolonging the strikes will not solve the problems and that discussions and negotiations are the way forward.

Satonen wrote on the social media platform X that the prolongation of the strikes was regrettable.

The strikes starting on March 11, are now expected to last until March 31. It has prompted the closure of ports and major process industry plants, bringing both road and rail freight transport to a halt. According to press reports, some 7,000 employees from various trade unions have so far been mobilized.

For the following days, however, arrangements have been made to ensure the fuel supply for air transport. The Finnish national airline has resorted to technical stops for refueling during the strike period.

The government’s reforms include cutbacks in unemployment benefits, increasing opportunities for companies to break away from union tariff agreements, and restricting political or sympathy strikes in the labor market. Some of the reform plans have already passed the parliamentary process.

On Wednesday, the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK), one of the largest Finnish employers’ associations, urged the two sides to work towards a rapid solution.

The EK estimated that prolonging the strikes would cause damages of 260 million euros (283.7 million U.S. dollars). In total, the strikes would lower the country’s gross domestic product by 1.5 billion euros. (

Famagusta Gazette