Finnish food workers to strike in defense of protection against dismissal
More than 4,500 members of the Finnish Food Workers Union (SEL) will take strike action at 15 workplaces on October 3 in support of their demand that the government withdraw its proposal to strip protection against dismissal from workers at companies with fewer than 20 employees.
The proposed elimination of protection against dismissal at small workplaces would place these workers in a situation of permanent precariousness, says the union. It would institutionalize discrimination and raise pressure on workers not to join a union, elect a shop steward or raise health and safety concerns for fear of reprisal.
The strike involves some one-fifth of the workers at companies covered under SEL's collective agreements and targets large workplaces including regional and transnational companies, although the vast majority of companies in Finland's food industry employ 20 workers or less. SEL warns that the proposal would serve as a prelude to the eventual elimination of protection for workers at companies of all sizes.
IUF affiliates PAM and PRO will also take part in the strike, which will involve most unions from the national center SAK and some from the Confederation of Salaried Employees STTK. SEL is prepared to escalate industrial action if the government does not withdraw its proposal.