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Wednesday's papers: Strikes, fewer traffic cameras, brain exercise

Most morning papers report the start of a three-day strike in the technology and chemical industries, and upcoming labour action in the retail and transport sectors.

Punainen legopalikka ison legokasan päällä.
Playing with building blocks and puzzles of various kinds are good memory and concentration training. Image: Elisa Kinnunen / Yle
Yle News

Three days of strikes in the technology and chemical industries began early on Wednesday, the first of the present labour market cycle, with more strikes on the way if settlements between unions and employers are not seen soon.

Helsingin Sanomat reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that the action called by the Industrial Union, which started at midnight, affects around 7,200 employees at 50 workplaces in the technology industry, the basic chemicals industry, the plastic products industry and the chemical products industry. The strike includes ABB Group's offices, the production facilities of the pharmaceutical company Orion, and Outokumpu's steel plant in Tornio, as well as other locations.

A strike by the Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff YTN is now affecting a dozen companies in the technology sector, with about 5,000 senior employees taking part.

Meanwhile, Trade Union Pro is staging a three-day walkout by white-collar workers in the technology, engineering and consulting sectors.

The strikes went ahead after failure to reach a pay agreement in talks on Tuesday between unions and employers.

Helsingin Sanomat writes that the dispute in the tech sector can be seen as the most significant of the ongoing labour market clashes because wage settlements in the technology industry usually set the standard for other sectors.

More strikes likely

Ilta-Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) tells readers that the service industry union PAM has announced an expansion of strikes in the retail trade sector scheduled for 16 February.

If it goes ahead, the two-day strike will affect 415 locations, with a total of around approximately 26,000 employees.

The strike will affect, for example, all K-Citymarkets, Prisma and Lidl supermarkets, Veljekset Keskinen stores, 42 Tokmanni outlets and 14 Kokkola Halpa-Halli stores, as well as Kesko Logistics terminals in Tampere, Turku, Kuopio and Oulu.

PAM is aiming for approximately two hundred euro increases in the monthly wages of employees in the retail sector.

Also, the Transport Workers' Union AKT has threatened a strike starting on 15 February which will hit port operations and road transport.

Helsingin Sanomat reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that the Employers’ Federation of Road Transport has called the union's planned action irresponsible, saying that the whole of society will suffer from delays in deliveries caused by the strike. It warned that some petrol stations may run out of fuel and home waste bins may overflow while drivers are on strike.

Fewer traffic cameras

Kuopio's Savon Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) reports that the number of fines issued to motorists caught speeding by traffic cameras took a nosedive last year.

The number of tickets based on snapshots taken by traffic police traffic cameras in 2022 was down by a third, to just under 78,000 fines for speeding.

The paper quotes Inspector Heikki Ihalainen of the National Police Board as saying that increased fuel prices may have played a part in drivers having a lighter foot on the gas pedal.

There are currently around 300 cameras monitoring traffic speeds on the nation's roads and highways. These cameras are rotated among approximately 1,200 locations.

This year however there will be even fewer snapping pictures along the road as older cameras are being taken out of service and replaced.

The tendering process for the purchase of new cameras will not be held until this summer, and installation will not take palce until late in the year, or in 2024.

Keeping your brain young

The farmers' union paper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus (siirryt toiseen palveluun) waxes nostalgic with happy childhood memories of the hours spent playing with building blocks, and writes about its editorial staff's experience with a set of adult Legos to see if they were still up to the challenge.

Completing the build took more time, dexterity and brain power than the team expected, but they called the experiment a success.

The verdict was that overall, it was a relaxing experience.

Anita Pohjanvuori, a memory expert at the Alzheimer Society of Finland was not surprised. She told the paper that building blocks and puzzles of various kinds are good memory and concentration training.

She added that, for example, as a counterweight to challenging work, you should focus on something other than things that exercise your memory.

Pohjanvuori said she is often asked by people if they should do crossword puzzles, even though they don't really like them.

"I answer that of course you shouldn't if you don't like it. The best advice is to do something you like doing," Pohjanvuori pointed out.

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