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JHL launches broad overtime and shift-trading ban in October – further measures to be announced later in the autumn, if preparations of the lay-off bill continue

The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL is launching an overtime and shift-trading ban in almost all of its sub-sectors as of the beginning of October. The ban will remain in force until further notice. JHL is also prepared to expand the industrial actions, if the preparations for the lay-off bill continue.

JHL is initiating political industrial actions to oppose the weakening of lay-off protection in businesses employing a maximum of 20 people. The overtime and shift-trading ban in nearly all of JHL’s sub-sectors starts on 1 October at 0.01 am. The ban will remain in force until further notice. The overtime and shift-trading ban for JHL members in the Koiviston auto group started on 20 September at 0.01 am.

– The lay-off bill proposed by the Finnish government intensifies fear in working life and doesn’t improve employment. More and more employers could plead lack of trust, if employees raise their concerns over workplace issues. The government has already made cuts to unemployment cover, parental allowances and the right to municipal day care. Now it wants to erode protection against dismissal, says JHL’s President Päivi Niemi-Laine.

Experts maintain that the lay-off bill would not improve employment. Dismissing employees is also not particularly difficult in Finland, although the government claims it is, Niemi-Laine points out.

The overtime and shift-trading ban due to begin in October applies to e.g. municipal, church and government employees and private-sector social and health-care employees. At this stage, the industrial actions cover nearly 100,000 JHL members.

Sectors left outside the industrial actions at this point include the energy sector, railway sector and employees working in the sub-sectors of the Association of Finnish Independent Education Employers. Office-holders and public officers are not included as they are not legally allowed to participate in political industrial actions. An exhaustive list of all the sectors participating in the industrial actions can be viewed on JHL’s website at jhl.fi/viimeinenniitti (in Finnish).

JHL has not set a limit for the duration of the industrial actions. Actions lasting a few days are unlikely to make the government repeal its bad decisions, says JHL’s Chief Executive Officer Håkan Ekström.

– We will be announcing further measures later this autumn, if the government doesn’t stop preparing the bill. The measures will expand gradually, and the union is ready to continue actions on a broad front.

Ekström points out that JHL is defending a major group of employees, and that the issue concerns all employees. According to different sources, 90–97 per cent of Finnish businesses have less than 20 employees. If the bill took effect, it would erode employees’ protection against dismissal regardless of their profession.

For more information:

Päivi Niemi-Laine, President of JHL, tel. 040 702 4772, paivi.niemi-laine@jhl.fi
Organisational measures: Håkan Ekström, Chief Executive Officer, tel. 040 828 2865, hakan.ekstrom@jhl.fi