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Electricians expand strike, employers say it threatens exports

Electrical workers say they will stay off the job until late January. Employers say this could undermine exports.

SSAB Teräsputkitehdas Hanko Lappvik.
SSAB plants in Raahe and Hämeenlinna are among those affected. Image: Tove Virta / Yle
Yle News

The Finnish Electrical Workers' Union is extending its strike by four weeks and widening it to hit power plants. The walkout, which began two weeks ago, is now to continue until 30 January rather than 2 January as originally planned.

The strike affects 12 companies that are members of the Technology Industries of Finland industry group, including Konecranes, Valmet, the Meyer Turku shipyard and Valmet Automotive, which has a car plant in Uusikaupunki.

The electricians will also expand the strike to include four power utilities: Aurora Tornio, Tornion Voima, VSV-Energia and Kokkolan Energia.

And in addition to an overtime ban that has been in effect since early November, the union will impose a ban on shift swaps as of 2 January.

The Technology Industries association considers the strike to be illegal and warns that it is significantly harming some of Finland's biggest export firms.

"It is highly regrettable that this union, with its long tradition, is behaving so irresponsibly and losing all of its credibility as a labour market player," said Minna Helle, the group's executive director for industrial relations, in a statement.

A former trade union official, she served as the national labour conciliator from 2015 to 2018, when she stepped down in the middle of her term to join the employers' lobby.

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