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What you need to know about the strike in Finland on Friday

Among many other things, Friday’s strike will cause Helsinki’s public transport system to come to a standstill for much of the day, grocery stores and other retailers won’t get deliveries and the country’s cargo ports will be shut down for the day.

Raitiovaunuja vauhdissa.
Friday's transport strike will bring a good deal of country's public transportation systems to a standstill for much of the day. Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

Friday will likely be an unusual and possibly tiring day for residents across the country, as more labour groups announce their participation in Friday’s scheduled protest called by the country’s biggest blue-collar labour confederation SAK earlier this month.

The strike action is a protest by participants over government plans to to get unemployed people into work by prompting jobseekers to do odd paid jobs totalling at least 18 hours over three months, or enroll in one of the few job-related training courses available, and to penalise those who do not.

Friday’s commute likely difficult

Friday’s strike will cause problems for users of public transportation across Finland for much of the day. In Helsinki, for example, the city’s metro and trams will not operate throughout the day. Those services are expected to resume on Saturday morning.

Most capital city bus services will also be out of service between 3 am to 6 pm, according to HSL, the city’s transport agency. Some bus services will run, and the agency said it would make announcements about which bus lines will be operational.

Bus service schedules are expected to return to normal after 6 pm and late night services are expected to operate normally, HSL said.

The strike will not, however, affect regional commuter trains or the ferry to downtown Helsinki’s nearby island of Suomenlinna.

Tampere, Turku, Vaasa transport also affected

The situation in Tampere on Friday is unclear, but some bus lines will be operational. The city’s transport agency makes periodical announcements on their Facebook page.

In Turku public transport will be affected by the strike between the hours of 3 am until 6:30 pm. The strike will also affect public transport users in Vaasa, but school bus services there are expected to run normally. The local transport authority advises passengers to check schedules, and is posting information about schedule changes and cancellations (in Finnish)

Business as usual: Trains, planes and taxis

Long-distance and local passenger train services across the country will operate normally across the country Friday, but given the likelihood of extra passengers on them, many trains will likely be operating at full capacity.

Organisations from the airline and taxi industries are not participating in the protest, either.

Retail, grocery lorry drivers joining strike

Between the hours of 6 am to 6 pm the truck drivers that normally deliver products and goods to retail and grocery stores will join in the protest action.

The Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation ETL has issued a warning that the strike may affect the availability of products on store shelves, particularly fresh food items.

Daycare centres mostly open normally

There will be disturbances to the delivery of meals and food to daycare centres and care facilities across the country, but arrangements are being made for the most part.

Officials from larger cities across the country have said that, apart from the food deliveries, the strike would not affect the functionality of daycare centres or care facilities.

In and around the capital area, daycare centres in the cities of Helsinki, Kauniainen, Kirkkonummi and Vantaa have made arrangements for meals, while centres in Espoo were on Wednesday reportedly still weighing whether to stay open or not. Parents are advised to stay in touch with their child's daycare provider.

Shipping harbours closed

The strike will also effectively shut down all of Finland’s cargo shipping harbours for the day. The freight ports are scheduled to shut down at 6 am Friday and will remain closed until 6 pm.

Hammers down Friday

The construction industry also plans to participate in the protest for the entirety of Friday.

No trash pickup most of the day

Garbage collection lorry crews will also participate in the strike across the country until 6 pm on Friday.

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