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Thursday's papers: Postal walkout, help for entrepreneurs, city bikes and Tom of Finland Square

A walkout by postal workers at Helsinki's mail sorting centre could delay deliveries across the country. The government is moving to improve the lot of small businesses. The capital's shared-use bikes will soon be back on the streets. And, Turku honours the artist known as Tom of Finland.

Daily newspapers.
Image: E.D.Hawkins / Yle

The newsstand tabloid Iltalehti reports that the postal service estimates that an overnight walkout by workers at Helsinki's main sorting centre could lead to late deliveries of up to a million pieces of mostly first-class mail across the country. Parcel post will not be affected.

The walkout was staged to protest a new postal law proposed by the government. A union spokesperson told Iltalehti that government plans to revise postal legislation could lead to as many as 3000 lost jobs.

The protest action began at 7:30PM when 200 employees walked off the job. A number of workers arriving for the night shift also took part in the protest.

Both the postal service and employee representatives have apologized to the public for the expected inconvenience of delays in some deliveries.

Help for entrepreneurs

The economic and business daily Kauppalehti today reports that although the government has announced plans for a series of small measures aimed at easing the life of entrepreneurs, more needs to be done.

One change in the works will make it easier for independent business people to take sick leave by reducing the period without compensation for sick days from four to one.

The chief economist at the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, Mika Kuismanen told the paper that this will especially benefit smaller businesses. He did point out, though, that on the other hand insurance payments will rise.

Another move by the government that was well received is a proposal for a change in legislation governing bankruptcies that should make it easier for entrepreneurs to deal with debts.

"An entrepreneur’s entire life will no longer be under threat when the risk of failure is reduced," Jouni Hakala, the head of the Confederation of Finnish Industries told the paper.

Another decision that Hakala pointed to as an improvement is the government's stated intention of making it easier for businesses to hire highly-skilled workers from abroad.

Even though business leaders are pleased with the series of small measures, Kuismanen told Kauppalehti that more sweeping changes are needed to improve employment.

"The government is just hoping for better economic growth than has been forecast. Instead it should have launched reforms to speed up economic growth," he said.

City bikes

Close to 1500 bright yellow bicycles will appear on the streets of Helsinki and parts of Espoo on Tuesday next week, as the 2017 city bike season is opened by Helsinki Regional Transport.

Helsingin Sanomat reports that the number of these shared-use bikes is being almost tripled this year and the service is being expanded with new bike stations in areas including Lauttasaari, Munkkiniemi, Pasila, Käpylä and Kalasatama.

In addition, a trial of the city bike service will be carried out in the Olari and Matinkylä districts of Espoo.

Use of the bikes requires registration, which can be done online in English, at the Helsinki Regional Transport website.

Tom of Finland Square

According to Turun Sanomat, Turku's city planning and environment board Wednesday approve a new zoning plan christening an area being constructed near the city's railway station "Tom of Finland Square" in honour of the late artist Touko Laaksonen.

Born and raised in the neighbouring town of Kaarina, Laaksonen is best known by his pseudonym Tom of Finland and for his highly stylized homoerotic art.

Turun Sanomat notes that Laaksonen and his works are being featured in a number of ways during events marking Finland's 100th anniversary this year.

Tom of Finland art has been portrayed on Finnish postal stamps, and a major motion picture about Laaksonen's life is in the works.

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