Strikes in Finland extended by another week

Industrial action in Finland is set to continue. The Finnish Transport Workers' Union AKT has announced that the strike will be continued until the morning of 8 April.

According to AKT, the industrial action concerns stevedoring activities in all Finnish ports, Viking Line's cargo handling operations in the ports of Helsinki and Turku, and Neste Oy's warehouse operations in the tanker and oil products sector.

AKT is protesting against the government's labour market reforms which are said to be promoting cheap labour market and weakening the position of employees in Finland.

The ongoing industrial action has already affected operations at the Finnish pulp and paper industry. Several pulp, board and paper mills had already suspended production due to increasing stocks of finished goods or limited raw material supply.

However, at the end of March or start of April several companies announced plans to restart production at certain facilities again, with the goal to supply domestic customers, according to UPM announced that pulp production at the Kymi and Kaukas sites are being ramped up again. Publication paper production at the Jämsänkoski mill was already started up at the end of March. Metsä informed that it restarted pulp production in Joutseno, wrote.

Metsäteollisuus: "Strike damages national economy"

Finnish forestry industry association Metsäteollisuus called the extended strikes "irresponsible" and "costly for every Finn". The continuation of the strikes will affect thousands of jobs and all export ports, causing very serious and irreversible damage to the export industry, the association warns, adding that the strikes have already damaged Finland's reputation as an investment destination.

"The situation is tragic. The chances of picking up Finland's depressed economy are getting thinner day by day as a result of political strikes," says Reima Lehtonen, Labour Market Manager at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

"Export companies will not be able to make up for the losses caused this year, and the traces of political strikes will have to be cleaned up for years," says Minna Etu-Seppälä, Labour Market Director at the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland.

As many as half of the chemical industry companies already consider their current situation to be poor. As many as 40 per cent of the companies that responded to the Technology Industries of Finland member survey said they would reduce investments in Finland due to political strikes. In the forest industry, strikes have led to extensive shutdowns of production in several companies.

Before the strikes, the Finnish export industry directly and indirectly employed approximately 1.2 million people. The industries generated over €100bn in value added and €35bn in tax revenue in the national economy annually.

This artice was last modified on 3 April at 11:40 am CET.

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