Politics: Finnish Strikes & Bone-Head Government

Finland has had coalition governments for decades which have been led by right-wing political parties. These politicians have always been careful and respectful in their relations with the trade unions. When the economy was performing less well the same government managed to make agreements in a proactive way with the trade unions. In hindsight, one can say that there was an episode of trust between the two parties.

Now we have a government that is dictating terms and conditions between employers and employees, as well as telling trade unions that they must accept legal restrictions on what this government calls political strikes. According to the proposed law, trade unions and the strikers will be fined if they if they organise and go on political strikes.

Finland is a country that is dominated by groups of monopolistic companies in at least six different sectors of the economy. These companies, exercise enormous amount of pricing power over the products they sell and buy as well as over what they pay to their staff.

Many workers and many people who are not in the workforce today are facing large cuts social benefits, housing grants, and other subsidies for basic needs.

It is therefore, hardly surprising that workers, through their trade unions, are now engaging in strikes that are the result of the proposed laws restricting workers’ rights to strike, and the proposed cuts is subsidy payments that primarily affects low income workers, but also  pensioners, and single parents, who are not in the workforce.

It is common for trade unions to take action against such matters even when their own employers are not directly involved. In Sweden and elsewhere in northern Europe there are similar grievances against Tesla that wants to stop workers in their factories from joining trade unions.

Any strike can be dubbed “political” but basically freedom of speech can be denied to those who have no possible voice or influence as individuals when restrictive policies are implemented without due regard to their consequences by governments or large corporations. The members of trade unions are also often related to those most affected irrespective or whether they are members or not!

Furthermore, one must also emphasise that political manifestoes that are published before any election are also promises made to the voters by these parties if elected.

The True Finns said the following in their 2023 manifesto:

Finns need to be cared for – One million Finns live at or below the poverty line. Low income affects your whole life and your choices. Arbitrary cuts must be stopped and the mistakes of the 90s recession must not be repeated. The Finns must be cared for now.”

The Conservatives stated in their 2023 manifesto:

  1. We are renewing Finnish working life and the labor market. Employees and employers may agree more together. We will improve work peace, work ability, and equality in working life.

  2. We are renewing housing and housing subsidies. We want there to be rental apartments in Finland for those who need them the most.

  3. We increase Finns’ sense of community and security. We prevent marginalization. We want everyone to feel that they belong to society

These strikes are the result of poor communications between the government, the employers’ unions and the workers’ unions. As such the government has been either deliberate or negligent in taking on the unions because it is obvious that these strikes would be the on the cards.

Workers are the most important resources in any company, and employers cannot afford to lose these resources. Furthermore, governments should not be a party that is causing such strife. Labour reforms must never be pushed through in a hurry, and compromises, over time, are the best tried and tested solutions.

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