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Transport unions accuse employer of withholding information, request police probe

Transport workers have expressed concern about a move toward privatisation, which they say would undercut working contracts, quality and safety.

Metro kulkee Kulosaaren sillalla marraskuun puolivälissä 2020.
Tram and metro drivers in the capital held a two-day strike last week in protest against incorporation plans. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Two member associations of the public and welfare sector trade union JHL have called on police to investigate whether Helsinki's city transport authority HKL violated labour laws during cooperation negotiations held earlier this year.

The Tram and Metro Staff Association JHL, which represents drivers, and the Helsinki Tram Workers JHL, which represents maintenance workers, submitted a request for an investigation to Helsinki police on Sunday 19 September.

The case is related to the City of Helsinki's plans to incorporate the city transport authority HKL, but exclude the metro system. Staff representatives have argued that the most recent restructuring scheme does not correspond to what was agreed upon between city management and drivers' representatives in the cooperation negotiations this past spring.

According to the Tram and Metro Staff Union's president, Petri Lillqvist, staff did not learn until August that the incorporation plans did not include HKL's metro services and staff.

"During the negotiations, staff were informed that HKL is to be incorporated as a single entity so that all business operations and personnel would be transferred to the new company. It was not until August that it became clear that the employer already knew in the spring that this would not happen," Lillqvist said.

Details about the exclusion of the metro side of the business from the incorporated company should have been made known to employees, Lillqvist added, as the move will inevitably have an impact on staff.

"I don't understand why the employer kept this a secret. It is better for the police to find out if procedures have been followed here or not," he said.

Tram and metro drivers held a two-day strike in protest against the incorporation plans on Thursday and Friday of last week.

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