Fourteen-day strike announced at Finnish ports

The Finnish Automotive and Transport Workers' Union (AKT) has announced new strikes for the period from 11 March 6 a.m. EET to 25 March 6 a.m. EET.

The strikes will mainly affect stevedoring and other port activities.

"The strike will bring freight traffic in the ports to a standstill, while passenger traffic will continue unhindered," the union said in a statement.

The AKT strike concerns the stevedoring operations of the shipping company Viking Linie in the ports of Helsinki and Turku, where all work is to be stopped during the strike.

Employees at Neste Corp.'s petroleum product warehouses in Hamina, Kemi, Kokkola and Tornio will not work any shifts during the strike.

A list of other affected stevedoring companies and subcontractors can be found here.

In the announcement, the union apologises for the inconvenience this strike will cause, but stresses that it is necessary to take action against the Finnish government's plans, which are aimed at weakening workers' rights for current and future generations, explained AKT President Ismo Kokko. He emphasised that the strikes are not directed against the employers concerned or existing collective agreements.

Industry associations fear irreversible damage

The industry associations Finnish Forest Industries, Technology Industries of Finland and Chemical Industries of Finland strongly criticise the renewed strikes as irresponsible. The closure of the ports for a fortnight was such a drastic measure that the companies would no longer be able to compensate for the resulting losses. The strike therefore poses a serious threat to the Finnish economy and causes irrevocable damage, the joint statement said.

In a situation where Finnish industry is shrinking, the strikes are causing further redundancies and sending the wrong signals to potential foreign investors. Export companies' order books have become thinner and production output has shrunk. The crisis has now reached the same extent as the financial crisis (2008/2009). While Finland was in recession, Norway, Sweden and Denmark are experiencing economic growth, industry associations say, adding that the current announcement shows a need to limit the right to political strikes in Finland.

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