Major Nationwide Strike in Finland Paralyzes Seaports

Thousands of tons of food are spoiling on ships stuck in Finnish ports

On Monday, March 11, a nationwide strike in Finland paralyzed the work of almost all seaports in this northern country. Port workers have stopped work to protest deep reforms to the labor and pension system launched by Prime Minister Petteri Orpo’s government.

Port workers have stopped unloading ships arriving in Finland. Finnish labor unions said the strike could last at least two weeks. Authorities and businesses are working creatively to save at least some of the food that cannot be stored for long. The protest threatens to seriously disrupt daily life in the country.

Finnish labor unions have been protesting for many months against significant cuts in generous social security, as well as against revised collective bargaining rules and restrictions on the right to strike. Conservative Prime Minister Petteri Orpo’s coalition government insists that such reforms are necessary to increase productivity and reduce the budget deficit and thus keep the Finnish economy globally competitive and sustainable.