COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - A strike in Finland halted public transportation and shut down ports nationwide on Friday as workers protested against government cutbacks aimed at trying to drag the Nordic country out of a three-year economic downturn.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A strike in Finland halted public transportation and shut down ports nationwide on Friday as workers protested against government cutbacks aimed at trying to drag the Nordic country out of a three-year economic downturn.
Trains and city buses were not running. Finnair, the national carrier, cancelled 16 domestic flights and airport authorities say delays could be expected. However, ferries, including those to Sweden and Estonia, were running normally.
Some shops are expected to be closed during demonstrations later in the day in Helsinki and major Finnish cities.
The strike comes after talks on a collective agreement on wages and working hours collapsed. Three unions claiming to represent some 2.2 million people — nearly half of Finland's population of 5.5 million — are protesting government cutbacks, including limits to holiday benefits and overtime pay.
On Friday, Prime Minister Juha Sipila tweeted that he would give unions and employers more time, until Sept. 30, to come forward with proposals.
Sipila's three-party ruling coalition announced "painful decisions" after taking office in May. His government includes the Finns Party that had voiced strong opposition to the financial bailout of other European countries and advocated the ouster of Greece from the eurozone.
Many fear that Finland could enter a fourth year of recession after recording the lowest growth in the eurozone in the second quarter. Unemployment in Finland is expected to rise. In July, it was 8.4 percent, up from 7 percent a year earlier.