Half of Finns oppose the restrictions on the right to strike planned by Prime Minister Petteri Orpo's NCP-led government, according to a survey published by the Uutissuomalainen newspaper group on Saturday. Fifty percent of respondents said they opposed the restrictions while 35 percent approved of them. The remaining 15 percent did not take a clear position.
The government aims to limit employees’ right to strike, including forbidding politically motivated strikes that last more than one day. Political strikes are called to protest decisions by the government or parliament, for instance. In recent weeks, labour unions have staged a series of walkouts in protest against the government's labour policies.
The answers reveal a clear gender split, as 45 percent of men but only 26 percent of women accepted the limitation of the right to strike.
Wage gaps in female-dominated fields
According to Ilkka Kärrylä, who teaches political history at the University of Turku, the difference may be explained by, for instance, the fact that men in Finland tend to be more right-leaning politically than women.
"Perhaps it also influenced by the fact that in recent years there has been a desire to catch up on wage differences in female-dominated fields, which has led to labour disputes," he told Uutissuomalainen.
Also on Saturday, Minister of Employment Arto Satonen (NCP) the government will push ahead with its plans to reform the labour market – including curbing the right to strike – despite the looming economic recession.
Pollster Tietoykkönen interviewed 1,000 Finns for the survey in mid-September. It estimates the margin of error at +/-3.1 percentage points.