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Tuesday's papers: Possibility of sympathy strikes, councillor suspension, booster jab trial

Finland's press covers day two of industrial action that has shut down letter, magazine and non-EU parcel delivery.

Harapaisen lajittelukeskuksen postiautoja
The postal strike may continue until 8 December. Image: Kare Lehtonen/Yle

Central Finland daily Keskisuomalainen reports on day two of the postal workers' strike, saying that members of the PAU post and logistics union will gather again on Tuesday in Helsinki to demonstrate. The workers will congregate in the capital's Ilmala district at 12:30pm and march to the Posti headquarters in northern Pasila.

Negotiations between PAU and the service sector employers union Palta on terms and conditions for postal workers broke down in late October, resulting in a two-week strike. Two days ago, PAU announced that would extend its strike until December 8 if an agreement cannot be reached in collective agreement talks. Negotiations will continue on Wednesday, 13 November.

If the strike is extended, it will expand to Posti's office and sales staff as well, KSML says. Transport unions and the massive welfare sector union JHL are also considering joining in the industrial action if a settlement can't be found and the strike continues after 24 November.

KSML writes that the strike has stopped all letter and magazine deliveries in Finland. Posti claims domestic parcels will be delivered normally, but items sent from within the EU may be delayed by several days. Support from the aviation workers union IAU means that handling of packages from outside Europe will resume only after the strike action has ended, the paper says.

Husu suspended until June 2020

The northwest Oulu-based daily Kaleva carries a story on the Social Democratic Party's decision to suspend Helsinki city councillor Abdirahim "Husu" Hussein from the SDP council group, after it was revealed that he fabricated part of a recent story he told about a racist taxi customer.

Eveliina Heinäluoma, chair of the SDP council group, announced the decision on Twitter on Tuesday, saying that Hussein had been dismissed from the council until June 2020 "because of his lying and the subsequent lack of confidence".

Kaleva writes that one week ago, Hussein tweeted about an incident in which he claimed that he had stopped along a motorway to order a verbally abusive passenger to leave his taxi. He later modified the story to clarify that he left the passenger at a bus stop and not at the roadside. On Monday Hussein admitted that he did not remove the passenger from the vehicle, but had tweeted about the incident to spark discussion. He apologized for his untruth and said he would accept the consequences.

Taksi Helsinki confirmed on Monday that Hussein had not ejected the passenger from the taxi. The taxi company told the paper that it is considering further action.

Super jab for seniors

And the capital city area's newspaper Helsingin Sanomat features an item on a new vaccination that is being trialled on people over 65 years of age in Finland.

The new jab is part of an exceptionally large study assessing the effectiveness of flu vaccinations for the elderly. The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) reports that 13 municipalities and over 34,000 seniors will participate. The first round will administer the jab this winter, and next year it will be repeated because influenza viruses mutate so quickly. The results of the trial won't be ready until sometime in the next decade.

The new vaccination protects against not just influenza, but also several secondary illnesses that can occur after an elderly person falls ill, such as pneumonia, serious infections or a heart attack. Patients with heart problems, diabetes and asthma can also find that their conditions grow worse after contracting the flu.

Immune responses to influenza vaccines decline with age, reducing clinical effectiveness. A higher-dose influenza vaccine has therefore been developed for seniors that contains four times the active ingredients contained in a standard-dose vaccine.

The booster influenza vaccine for seniors is already in use in the US, and tests must be made on the European market before it can be introduced here. Clinical tests in two top medical journals show that the vaccine has been effective in reducing the incidence of respiratory-related hospital admissions, HS reports.

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