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Strike grinds Finnish ports to a halt on Tuesday

The Transport Workers' Union AKT has called a 24-hour strike at all Finnish ports on Tuesday.

A strike action at Finnish ports begins early on Tuesday, 28 December. Image: Jouni Immonen / Yle

The Transport Workers' Union AKT is launching a strike at ports on Tuesday in response to collective agreement disputes involving forest industry company Keitele Group. The 24-hour collective action will essentially stop all port activity.

The Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) criticised the move, saying a dispute involving a single company was threatening to freeze most of Finland's foreign trade.

Last week AKT initiated a blockade against Keitele Group in support of the Industrial Union's collective agreement negotiations with the company. During the blockade, AKT members did not handle Keitele products at Finnish ports. AKT said Tuesday's collective action is in response to attempts to break the blockade at the Port of Loviisa over Christmas.

Employer lobby EK said AKT's retaliatory action would effectively shut down all Finnish ports and affect companies outside of the Keitele Group dispute. The EK noted that some 350 million euros worth of goods pass through Finnish ports daily.

Finnish Forest Industries, which represents forest industry companies, also criticised AKT's strike, claiming it would damage Finland's international reputation and competitiveness.

Both the EK and the Finnish Forest Industries are calling for a reform of strike rules.