Controversial new Finland strike law comes into force

Legislation restricting the right to strike – which partially triggered a wave of walkouts this year – takes effect on Saturday.

YLE NEWS 16.5.2024 16:05

The right-wing government led by PM Petteri Orpo (NCP) has asked President Alexander Stubb to sign off on its controversial new labour law. He is expected to do so in his regular Friday meeting with ministers, with the law taking effect a day later.

The ‘industrial peace’ legislation restricts the length of politically motivated strikes, limits what it calls “disproportionate solidarity action,” i.e. sympathy strikes, and increases fines for violating industrial peace through illegal strikes, for instance.

Maximum fines for unlawful walkouts could rise from the current 37,400 euros to a maximum of 150,000 euros.

In the future, political work stoppages may last no more than 24 hours, and other industrial action may be limited to two weeks.

The government submitted the bill to Parliament in late February. It was broadly approved in early May.

The vote was 107–57, with MPs from two opposition parties – the Centre and Movement Now – voting with the four government parties. Lawmakers from the SDP, Left Alliance and Greens voted ‘no’.

The labour movement – which has close ties to the SDP – carried out a series of political strikes between September and early April to protest the government’s planned labour and social services reforms.

According to the government’s original proposal, the changes would have come into effect at the beginning of July.