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Thursday's papers: Partial retail strike starts, rogue researcher and bulldozed burial grounds

While some shelves were emptied ahead of strikes at some grocery stores, the service workers' union boss asked for understanding, saying that now is the time for pay raises.

Kolme lakkovahtia suljetun marketin edessä kylttien kanssa.
Three strikers in front of a closed store with signs supporting the service worker union PAM amidst retail sector strikes. Image: Raila Paavola / Yle
Yle News

Tabloid Iltalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) covered the partial retail sector strike which began on Thursday morning.

Service workers' union PAM was unable to reach a wage agreement with the Finnish Commerce Federation, triggering a two-day strike which began at 5am on Thursday and is set to end at 5am on Saturday. About 160 grocery stores around the country are closed due to staff shortages.

PAM chair Annika Rönni-Sallinen said in an interview with IL that there is a lot of participation among employees in the industrial action.

"It's nice to meet people and picketers and thank them for their support, which is needed at the negotiating table," Rönni-Sallinen said.

In another IL article (siirryt toiseen palveluun), it was highlighted that some store shelves emptied rapidly ahead of the strikes.

"I hope for understanding. It is not our intention to cause trouble. Finland is not running out of food, and there are shops open elsewhere. Now is the time for pay raises. They are needed just to help people get by," Rönni-Sallinen emphasised.

Did Aaltola cross line for Finnish foreign policy?

Capital-based Helsingin Sanomat wrote that Parliament's nine-member advisory board of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) is set to discuss comments by the institute's chief, political scientist Mika Aaltola, about separating Finland's Nato bid from Sweden's.

"The mission of the Institute for Foreign Policy is to provide policy-makers with researched information. It is not the intention that the Institute's management and researchers themselves try to influence Finnish foreign policy," the deputy chair of the advisory board Saara-Sofia Sirén (NCP) told news outlet MTV in an interview.

Aaltola, who recently visited Turkey, tweeted that Finland should communicate its ability to separate the Finnish and Swedish applications. He also shared his thoughts in an interview with tabloid Ilta-Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

According to Sirén, the work of the FIIA is vital and supports decision-making in foreign affairs.

"At the same time, we must remember that the Finnish constitution stipulates that the President shall conduct foreign policy in cooperation with the government. The FIIA operates under the auspices of the Parliament," Sirén pointed out.

Last week, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) pledged that Finland and Sweden would join Nato together at a meeting with her Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson in Stockholm.

Since the war in Ukraine began last year, Aaltola has appeared often in the media as an expert. In the most recent Yle presidential poll for the 2024 election, Aaltola came in third place.

Bulldozed burial grounds

Tampere-based Aamulehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) covered an archaeological mishap from the 1960s that led to the destruction of a major part of a Viking-era cemetery.

The burial site was located in the area of Kaukajärvi in Tampere and had been used as a gravel and building material depository since the 1940s.

"The valuable historical significance of the crematorium area was totally destroyed with bulldozers and trucks during the years from 1961 to 1971. The gravel collection site and its cemetery, all of them had instantly turned into a dumping ground of building materials, with which the city of Tampere built its future roads and building complexes," historian Juha Javanainen told AL.

Javanainen authored a recent book on the history of the area and told the story of how one of the largest cemeteries in Finland was destroyed before any archaeological research could take place.

When the grave was officially discovered in 1961, the conclusion was made that most of the cemetery had already been destroyed, as bulldozers had already pushed away topsoil. While there were archaeological studies on the site, they were rushed and pressured by the demands of the construction pit.

When new excavations began in 1971, archaeologists sifted through the bulldozed rubble and discovered over 3,000 medieval artefacts.

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11.59: Clarified that retail strike only affects some shops.

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