Picture and video: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today
Ilona Seppänen, 35, and a few hundred others stand at the steps of the Parliament Building on Thursday afternoon. The weather is cloudy; the faces are grim.
Seppänen is wearing a red jacket with a matching scarf and beret. Seppänen is a low-wage worker. She is standing there to support the cause of the others who are unified by orange jackets with big letters emblazoned on the back: POSTI.
They are the workers of Posti Group Oyj, the state-owned multimillion company, that wants to lower their wages, lengthen their work hours and complicate their working patterns. The workers are having none of it. That’s why they have been on strike since November 11 and unless an understanding is found are going to stay on strike at least till December 8.
Now they want to expel the board of Posti Group and are at the steps of the parliament to make the point clear for the legislators as well. They demand that Sirpa Paatero (the SDP), the minister of local government and ownership steering, would step out and face the music but at this writing, there was no sign of her.
The strike has already started to take its toll on society. In the past few weeks, there have hardly been any letter deliveries. In fact, many companies don’t even bother sending them.
PAU and Palta, the representative association for service sector businesses and organizations in Finland, have had many negotiations but failed to find an agreement.
Right now they are arguing about the position of package sorters, who, even if Palta would accept PAU’s new terms, would be left outside the agreement. PAU finds this unacceptable.
If no agreement is found before next Monday, the local buses will stop in Helsinki, cruise ferries will stay in dock and the function of airports will be disturbed. (Unless PAU and Palta find an agreement before Monday, we will publish an article about all disturbances in detail.)
“Are we going to accept that the board of Posti, receives salaries of tens of thousands while they are planning to cut our wages?” a man asked in a megaphone.
“No! No! No!” the protesters screamed.
“Expel the board!”