Friday July 12, 2024

Strikes to halt train traffic, power generation on Dec 14

Published : 09 Dec 2023, 01:46

Updated : 13 Dec 2023, 22:32

  DF Report
DF File Photo.

The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL) on Friday expressed its solidarity to the strikes at different sectors scheduled to be observed on December 14, which will suspend train communication and power generation.

The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) on Thursday announced the strike protesting against the government’s planned moves easing dismissal of employees and austerity measures.

As a result of JHL’s industrial action, Finland’s train traffic will cease almost entirely for one day, because the JHL members working within rail traffic will also be striking, said JHL in a press release.

JHL is forced to take action because the government is still pushing for drastic weakenings to the status of employees and to social security, said JHL’s Interim President Håkan Ekström.

“The Government hasn’t come up with any proposal that would eliminate our concern about the future of the terms and conditions of employment in Finland. We must also in the future be able to seek fair terms and conditions of employment for our members with the help of negotiations,” Ekström said.

During the autumn and early winter, JHL has organised several political strikes that oppose the Government’s unfair policy, said the press release, adding that the government of Finland is planning to weaken social security and basic employee rights dramatically.

Meanwhile, JHL also decided to join the strike at the electricity sector on December 14 prompting suspension of power generation in several power plants for one day.

Power plants in Vantaa, Espoo, Tampere, Naantali and Pietarsaari are participating in the strike.

The electricity production of the power plants on strike will stop for one day because their turbines will be disconnected from the network. District heat production and distribution will continue throughout the industrial action.

Members of Trade Union Pro, Finnish Electrical Workers´ Union, Union of Professional Engineers in Finland and Finnish Engineers’ Association (FEA) are also participating in the strikes.

The industrial action applies to work shifts starting on Thursday 14 December 2023 at 12 am–11.59 pm.

In addition, the unions are declaring a ban on overtime and shift swaps and a temporary transfer ban for 8–14 December 2023.

“Electricity production in the strike locations will stop for one day because the power plants’ turbines will be disconnected from the network. People will not have to freeze however, because district heat will be provided through the network also during the strike,” JHL’s Bargaining Specialist Kari Lehtinen said.

District heat and district cooling production and distribution, and necessary work tasks related to them, are ruled outside the industrial action. Furthermore, valid agreed stand-by arrangements and operational actions related to power distribution are ruled outside the strikes. They must be performed in order to protect people’s life, health or property.

Trade unions affiliated to SAK on Thursday announced a conditional programme of political industrial action on December 14 December unless the Government clears a path for genuine collective bargaining by employee organisations.

SAK opposed needless attacks on employee working conditions by the four-party alliance Orpo-Purra right-wing government, and its plans for cuts in social welfare that are unfair and inappropriate under current economic conditions.

The trade unions feel that policy proposals of the new Government Programme affecting terms and conditions of employment are unbalanced and disregard the needs of employees.

Representatives of employees and employers have discussed the creation of a new labour market model in Finland, with both sides finding the capacity and resolve to achieve a settlement.

SAK President Jarkko Eloranta stressed that negotiations cannot be confined to remuneration schemes alone.

"We must also be able to discuss and agree on other issues that are integral parts of the package. If the Government expects the social partners to advance from general conversation to concrete collective bargaining on a labour market model, then it will also be necessary to negotiate and find a settlement on local collective bargaining and industrial peace that accommodates the needs of employees," Eloranta said.

SAK insists that no consensus on the labour market model can emerge without broadening the terms of reference of the negotiations and suspending preparations to cut unemployment benefit.

"SAK is prepared to launch immediate serious negotiations on a comprehensive labour market settlement just as soon as the Government announces its readiness to broaden the overall scope of collective bargaining," Eloranta added.