Finland to introduce 200 euro fine for participation in illegal strikes

By Thomson Reuters Feb 22, 2024 | 10:15 AM

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finland’s government announced plans to restrict the right to strike on Thursday, with new legislation that will introduce a 200 euro ($217) fine for employees who participate in illegal “political” industrial action, public broadcaster YLE reported.

Finnish unions have been protesting against the government’s labour reforms and welfare cuts for months and organised several widespread strikes in January and February, vowing to follow up with more action if the government did not cancel its plans.

Finland’s economy has been faring poorly recently and the four-party coalition in office since last year has promised to put an end to accumulating more public debt.

Announcing new legislation on “industrial peace” on Thursday, employment minister Arto Satonen said the government would restrict the length of political strikes to 24 hours and introduce a personal fine of 200 euros for employees attending a strike that had been declared illegal by a court.

The right to strike would remain unaffected in cases of labour market disputes, such as disagreements over wages between employees and employers.

The government also plans to issue a ban on what Satonen called “disproportionate” solidarity strikes.

The government has said it was unsustainable for the Finnish economy that political strikes – aimed at protesting over government policies – cause disproportionate financial damage to private companies.

($1 = 0.9216 euros)

(Reporting by Anne Kauranen, additional reporting by Marie Mannes, Editing by Alex Richardson)