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Some 100,000 employees in Finland’s industrial sector begin 3-day strike

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Some 100,000 Finnish employees in the industrial sector on Monday began a three-day strike to back up their salary demands.

The action comprises both workers’ and management unions.

The strike was called by the Finnish Industrial Union, the Trade Union Pro and the “white-collar” Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff YTN.

Also, workers in the building and electrical sectors had announced solidarity strikes, bringing the total number of employees embarking on industrial action to nearly 100,000.

The striking workers include employees in fuel production, pharmaceutical companies, mines, and several technology companies.

The state mediator, Vuokko Piekkala, told Finnish national radio Yle that the views on salary increase between the employee and employer unions were widely apart.

Earlier, the Finnish Industrial Union rejected a mediation proposal by the state mediator, Riku Aalto, President of the Industrial Union, said the proposal was less than the two or three per cent increase obtained by employees in Finland.

Details of mediation proposals are not public in Finland.

Meanwhile, Finnish unions have largely set the increase levels of key competitor countries, mainly Germany, as a benchmark for their demands.

According to German Economic Research Institute, the average nominal increase agreed in 2019 was over three per cent and the metal sector had exceeded that.

Aalto said that the employers were trying to worsen the terms of labour.

The Executive Director for Industrial Relations at Technology Industries of Finland, Minna Helle, said the strike affected the reputation of Finland as an export provider.

She claimed the strike would cause 400-million-euro (or 442-million-U.S.-dollar) losses, while the union said the impact of the strike would be 26 million euros only.

However, the strike would be followed by a weeklong lockout in the Forest Industries concerning mainly sawmills and plywood plants.

The lockout would commence on Dec. 12 and ends on Dec. 18. Lockout is an employer measure. However, During a lockout employees would be excluded from the workplace and would not be paid.

Edited by: Yahaya Isah./Emmanuel Yashim
(NAN)