Govt Stands Firm on Limiting Right to Strike Despite ILO’s Intervention, Says SAK

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Govt rigid to restrict right to strike despite ILO intervention: SAK

The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) accused the four-party alliance government led by Prime Minister Petteri Orpo of showing complete disregard for the country’s international commitments and how they are supervised.

This indifference on the part of the government now extends to concerns expressed by the International Labour Organization (ILO), said SAK on Friday.

In pursuit of certain questionable ambitions that employer organizations have advocated for decades, the government is seeking to confine the right to strike within extremely narrow margins, while ignoring criticism from employee organizations and a wide array of legal specialists alike.

This means new legislation limiting the duration of political strikes to one day only, curtailing sympathetic strike action, and sharply increasing fines for unlawful strikes, said SAK in a release, adding that an individual penalty of EUR 200 would also be levied on any employee who continued industrial action that a court had declared unlawful.

The ILO in a letter sent to Minister of Labour Arto Satonen in mid-April urged the government to negotiate with the social partners on any curtailment of the right to strike, said the release, adding that the minister nevertheless insisted that all of the required discussions and consultations have already taken place, and the Employment and Equality Committee of Parliament expressed no view on the concerns of the ILO when considering the draft legislative proposal.

“Despite the ILO intervention, the governing party majority on the committee forced through a legislative package affecting the right to strike for approval by a plenary session of Parliament, even though this right is a fundamental human right of employees,” SAK Senior Legal Advisor Paula Ilveskivi said.

While the Constitutional Law Committee of Parliament ultimately approved the proposal, this outcome was far from unanimous. The governing party members forming a majority on the Committee simply ignored the advisory opinions of consulted specialists in constitutional and human rights law.

“This unprecedented approach shows a clear politicisation of the Constitutional Law Committee, damaging its legitimacy as a body charged with ensuring that legislative proposals are constitutional, and that they comply with human rights treaties,” Ilveskivi added.

The ILO intervention addressed to the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment responds to a request submitted to the Director-General of the ILO by the International Trade Union Confederation ITUC.

This request reflected efforts by the Finnish Government to amend legislation on the right to strike.

“The ITUC does not submit intervention requests to the ILO Director-General lightly, nor does the ILO entertain unfounded requests,” Ilveskivi said.

The indifference of the Finnish Government is evident insofar as Minister of Labour Satonen seems to be ignoring the ILO intervention, with the parliamentary passage of new strike legislation continued and even accelerated.

“Egged on by the employers, the Government and governing parties seem to be riding roughshod over employees and the opposition parties. This approach is obliterating the idea of consensus policymaking in Finland,” the Advisor said.

She notes that only complete arrogance or incomprehension can account for the attitude of the Orpo Government and its Minister of Labour towards the ILO intervention, which is motivated by the general duty of the ILO to assist Member States in complying with their treaty obligations.

“The Orpo Government is now dragging Finland into the group of countries that have to be held accountable internationally for their human rights violations. This will hardly enhance the reputation of Finland as an attractive target for the foreign investment and talent that its government needs,” Ilveskivi added.

The proposal to amend legislation governing the right to strike is currently under consideration at a plenary session of Parliament.

“We can only hope that MPs will find the wisdom and courage to reassess this issue and reject the proposal, as the opposition Social Democrats, Left Alliance and Greens recommend in their objection to the report of the Employment and Equality Committee,” Ilveskivi said.

The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) and its affiliated unions on April 4 decided to suspend their ongoing strikes.


  1. EmilyJohnson says

    Is the government not obligated to adhere to the recommendations of the International Labour Organization? How can they justify restricting such a fundamental right?

    1. EthanDavis says

      The government seems to be prioritizing the interests of employer organizations over the rights of employees. It’s concerning how they are disregarding the appeals from the International Labour Organization and moving forward with such restrictive measures.

  2. EmilyK1985 says

    It’s alarming to see how the government is unyielding in restricting the right to strike, despite the intervention of the ILO. The authorities seem determined to clamp down on labor rights, disregarding international obligations. The move to limit political strikes to just one day and escalate penalties for unlawful strikes is deeply concerning. It’s crucial for the government to engage in meaningful dialogue with social partners and prioritize workers’ rights over narrow interests.

  3. EmilyJohnson84 says

    It’s concerning to see how the government is disregarding international commitments and attempting to limit the right to strike. Workers must have the freedom to collectively bargain and protest for fair working conditions. The ILO’s intervention should not be ignored, and dialogue with social partners is crucial for a balanced approach.

  4. EmilySmith86 says

    It is deeply concerning to witness the government’s unwavering stance on limiting the right to strike, despite the interventions made by the ILO. The disregard for international commitments and the defiance towards feedback from various stakeholders raise serious alarms about the protection of labor rights in the country. The government should prioritize meaningful dialogue and collaboration with social partners rather than enforcing restrictive measures that undermine the fundamental rights of workers.

  5. Emily Smith says

    It’s alarming to see the government’s persistent efforts to restrict the right to strike, disregarding both international obligations and the concerns of labor organizations. This proposed legislation not only undermines workers’ rights but also ignores the principles of fair labor practices. It is high time for the government to prioritize meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders and ensure that workers’ rights are protected.

  6. EmilySmith says

    It’s disheartening to see the government dismissing the ILO’s recommendations and pushing forth with such restrictive measures on the right to strike. Workers’ rights should be protected and respected, not curtailed for the sake of narrow interests. It’s crucial for the government to engage in meaningful dialogue with social partners to ensure fair labor practices.

  7. EmilyJones1985 says

    The government’s decision to limit the right to strike is completely unacceptable. It disregards the fundamental rights of workers and goes against international labor standards. The authorities should prioritize dialogue with social partners and ensure that workers’ rights are protected.

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