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08.05.2024 14:31

PAM’s Annika Rönni-Sällinen: The strike laws have been adopted, the government is eroding democracy

Today, the Finnish Parliament adopted the government’s bill to limit workers’ right to strike. Annika Rönni-Sällinen, president of Service Union United PAM, says that we are now seeing increasingly strong polarization, an erosion of citizens’ opportunities to influence, and their freedoms and rights.

nainen seisoo ulkona takki päällä kädet puuskassa.

The Parliament adopted today the law that limits the possibility of political strikes and sympathy strikes, as well as the law that entails a drastic increase in strike fines, also for individuals.

According to Rönni-Sällinen, there is much to say both in terms of the content of the legislation and how it has been drafted. The views of the employee side were not taken into account, the same applies to views from experts on fundamental freedoms and human rights or the International Labor Organization ILO.

According to Rönni-Sällinen, the government only seems to pursue the employer’s issues, which can be seen, for example, in the increase and extension of fines to apply only in situations where the employee side violates the obligation to maintain industrial peace, i.e. participates in a so-called illegal strike.

– The trade union’s obligation is to observe the labour peace obligation during the collective agreement period. An equally important obligation is that the employer must comply with the provisions of the collective agreement and that the employers’ association monitors that this also takes place. The government has not proposed any changes to the breaches of the employer’s duty. Often, however, the cause of disturbances in the workplace is the employer’s actions, states Rönni-Sällinen.

The employees’ opportunity to express their views on politics is now reduced.

– It is a tough decision in democracy. Orpo-Purra’s government now places Finland among the countries that are held internationally responsible for their violations of human rights. This is neither good for Finland’s reputation internationally nor does it make Finland more attractive for foreign investment and experts, something the government has been hoping for.

Rönni-Sällinen says that under these circumstances it is particularly important to use your right to vote.

– Recently, it has seemed that the most important bills protecting workers’ rights have come from the European Union, not from the Finnish government. It gives us a good reason to vote in the EU elections for candidates who stand on the side of the workers – not only in words but in deeds also, states Rönni-Sällinen.