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Citizens' initiative to reverse govt's "activation model" handed to Finnish Parliament

A citizens' initiative calling for the reversal of the government's so-called employment activation model gathered some 140,000 signatures, nearly three times as many as needed to force MPs to reconsider the measure.

mielenosoitus 2. 2. Helsingin Senaatintori
Image: Kimmo Hiltunen / Yle

A citizens' initiative calling for government to roll back its "activation model" to stimulate the unemployed to find work was handed in to Parliamentary Speaker Paula Risikko on Friday.

To mark the occasion, a small group of demonstrators gathered on the steps of the Parliament building, with some protesters carrying placards, and politicians and activists delivering speeches.

The petition reached the 50,000 signatures required for MPs to consider it just over a week after it was launched in December. A total of 140,944 signatories ended up backing the electronic document before the sign-up period expired at the end of January.

The initiative criticises the model – which, among other things, forces job-seekers to accept gig positions, seek entrepreneurship or embark on training on pain of having their benefits cut. The petition claims that the measure effectively punishes unemployed jobseekers for not landing a job and says that they cannot be held accountable if an employer decides not to hire them.

The initiative calls on government to immediately overturn the measure, which came into effect at the start of the year.

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