Thousands strike in Finland over labour reform


HELSINKI: A massive Finnish strike movement kicked off on Thursday, grounding most air traffic and closing workplaces in a protest against proposed govern­ment labour reforms that include social benefit cuts.

About 300,000 people are expected to take part in the two days of strike action.

With air traffic widely disrupted, national car­rier Finnair has cancelled 550 flights, affecting 60,000 passengers.

Trains across the coun­try and metros, buses and trams in the capital will grind to a halt on Fri­day, while various unions called for stoppages in the energy sector, schools and healthcare services.

Industry, restaurants, hotels, postal workers and other retail sectors and services are also affected.

A protest called by the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) gathered around 13,000 people in Helsinki on Thursday, police said.

“The biggest problem is that they are trying to weaken the unions’ powers to negotiate the (collective) agreements which are usually done by the employers lawyers and the unions’ lawyers,” 30-year-old demonstrator Henri Mertto, who works as a ship crewman, told AFP
.__The Nation