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Under fire, cabinet leaders meet to discuss Posti crisis

Opposition parties plan to hold government ministers' feet to the fire this week over the Posti dispute.

Pääministeri Antti Rinne ja kunta- ja omistajaohjausministeri Sirpa Paatero eduskunnan hiljaisella hetkellä viime perjantaina menehtyneen keskustan kansanedustaja Antti Rantakankaan muistolle eduskunnan täysistunnossa Helsingissä 26. marraskuuta 2019.
PM Antti Rinne and Ownership Steering Minister Sirpa Paatero in Parliament on Tuesday. Image: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva

The leaders of the five government parties are to meet on Sunday evening to discuss the fallout from the Posti labour dispute ahead of a parliamentary challenge in the next few days.

Prime Minister Antti Rinne of the Social Democratic Party has invited the other four party chairs to meet at an undisclosed location at 8.30pm.

They are to go over the events in the dispute, which has dominated domestic politics this autumn. The crisis has led to the resignation of the minister in charge of overseeing state-owned firms, and even to calls for the resignation of Rinne, a former labour boss.

On Friday, three of the opposition groups in Parliament filed an interpellation over the government's handling of the Posti dispute. Opposition MPs are expected to grill cabinet ministers over the issue on Tuesday before the government faces a vote of confidence on Wednesday.

The conservative National Coalition Party, the Christian Democrats and the Movement Now (Liike Nyt) filed the challenge. The largest opposition group, the Finns Party, has criticised the government harshly over the matter but did not co-sign the interpellation.

Centre and Greens sought clarification

On Saturday, Minister of Economic Affairs Katri Kulmuni called for the cabinet partners to meet as soon as possible to discuss future policy on labour disputes, with more looming in the coming weeks.

Greens chair and Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo has also sought further clarification from Rinne.

There are also two smaller parties in the centre-left coalition, the Left Alliance and the Swedish People's Party. They are led by Education Minister Li Andersson and Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson respectively.

The government is just under six months into a planned four-year legislative term.

On Friday, veteran SDP politician Sirpa Paatero stepped down as Minister of Local Government and Ownership Steering after it emerged that she had misled Parliament about her role in the Posti labour dispute. Her replacement has not yet been named.

The company's plan to shift some 700 employees to a lower-paying contract led to a 17-day strike, which ended on Wednesday as sympathy strikes were set to expand.

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