European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
Together for decent work and fair pay from farm to fork

'This reform is a punishment'. Food workers join demonstration against the new active model in Finland

01/02/2018
Henri Lindholm, Union Secretary, SEL

On 2 February 2018, the Finnish labour movement is staging a demonstration opposing the recently adopted legislations on the unemployment security system. The right wing government in Finland has once again taken steps against the working class, trying to  weaken the social security of Finns and the rights of workers.

The active model, which came into force at the beginning of the year, cuts unemployment security and negatively impacting the unemployed. From the beginning of the year 2018 unemployed people must report their progress in job-seeking to the unemployment fund or the Social Insurance Institution (Kela) quarterly. The unemployment fund or Kela can then consider whether they have been active enough in finding employment or not.

Should they decide someone has not done enough to seek out employment, the benefit will be cut by 4.65 percent for the next three months. The cut is approximately one day's benefit per month.

The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) is organising a political demonstration against the new active model. As one of its affiliates SEL, the Finnish Food Workers’ Union workers is supporting these actions opposing it.

The name ”activity model“ shows that the government is trying to obscure the fact that the reform is actually a form of punishment", SEL president Veli-Matti Kuntonen stresses. 

“The fact that over 7500 food workers will go on strike on Friday  as  part of  the protest action shows that working people and those out of work now have the same goal. That is to finally put an end to reforms that are threatening to bury the Finnish welfare model", SEL Union secretary Henri Lindholm states.

The demonstration will take place on Friday 2 February 2018 at 11 a.m. in central Helsinki.

Food workers will not be at strike although food-related workplaces may have organized local political struggles, strikes, job interceptions or other manifestations. 

To read more about the opposition to the active model: 

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EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 22 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organisation of the IUF.