Finnish Trade Unions Rise Against Government Budget Cuts
The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) has announced a three-week protest comprising walkouts, demonstrations, and protests against the government’s planned budget cuts. The campaign is scheduled to begin next week, with union members in North Ostrobothnia, Kainuu, and Lapland set to vacate their workplaces.
A Series of Demonstrations
The campaign, announced at a press conference, will involve protest activities at least three days per week for the next three weeks. On Tuesday, 26th September, workers from the aforementioned regions will stage walkouts scheduled to last one hour. The Finnish Electrical Workers’ Union members are expected to cease work at plants in Finnish Lapland. The following day, the PAM services sector union and the Finnish Construction Trade Union will organize demonstrations.
The protest campaign aims to highlight the adverse impact of the government’s budget cuts on workers. The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) has criticized the proposed budget plans for disproportionately and negatively affecting workers, particularly those earning low and middle incomes. The union believes that these budget cuts will increase insecurity in the working world, particularly for workers in low-paid jobs.
In response to the announcement of the protests, Prime Minister Petteri Orpo has invited leaders from both worker and employer sides for a discussion at his official Kesäranta residence. However, the union has expressed concerns about the fairness of these talks, given that the planned cuts and changes are already included in the government’s programme. The SAK has also criticized the government’s pre-election promises, which they claim only apply to high-income earners.
While the SAK has scheduled the demonstrations and walkouts to begin next week, they have also indicated that they do not currently plan a general strike. However, they have not ruled out such action and have stated that they will consider further measures if the protests do not achieve the desired results. The union’s aim is to lobby the government for a change of course and to study the combined impact of cuts on social welfare as a whole.
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