Frequently asked questions on walkouts 6 February

At its meeting on 19 January 2024, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff Akava’s Board decided on implementing political industrial action coordinated by Akava, i.e. walkouts, on 6 February 2024 at 2 p.m. This page gives you practical information and contains a list of Akava affiliates that participate.


What is happening?

At its meeting on 19 January 2024, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff Akava’s Board of Directors decided on implementing political industrial action coordinated by Akava, i.e. walkouts, on 6 February 2024 at 2 p.m. The walkouts will end at 4 p.m.

The following Akava affiliates will participate in the walkouts: The Finnish Association of Academic Agronomists, Akava Special Branches, Akavan sairaanhoitajat ja Taja, DIFF – Ingenjörerna i Finland, The Union of Professional Engineers in Finland, Union of Technical Professionals KTK, Finnish Association of Rehabilitation Professionals, The Union of Professionals in Natural, Environmental and Forestry Sciences Loimu, Talentia Union of Professional Social Workers, Finnish Pharmacists’ Association, The Finnish Medical Association, The Finnish Psychological Association, The Finnish Association of Speech Therapists, The Finnish Association of Public Health Nurses, The Finnish Association of Occupational Health Nurses, The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers FUURT, Professionals of Business and Technology and Social Science Professionals.

Who do the walkouts on 6 February concern?

The walkouts concern the employed members of the abovementioned Akava affiliates in the public and private sectors in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area (Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa), Tampere and Turku and partly in other cities. The measure also concerns the student members of the Akava affiliates in the abovementioned cities.

The affiliates’ administrative bodies have made the organisatory decisions on participating in the political protest, protecting the employed members in the walkout cities from personal repercussions.

What is political industrial action?

Industrial action decided upon by a union, where a walkout is a short-term exit from the workplace. Political industrial action can also be called a political demonstration or a strike. It is not directed against existing collective agreements or terms of employment.

Everyone has the right to express their opinion. Political protest is a constitutionally protected measure aimed at influencing societal decision-making. The protest can be directed, for example, against the decisions of the Government or Parliament. The walkout now being carried out is directed against the actions of the Finnish Government.

Why is political industrial action being implemented? Why are there walkouts?

Through political industrial action, Akava is expressing its opposition to some of the Government’s working-life measures. Akava has presented its own, reasoned solution proposal to the Government, but the Government has not addressed it. Akava has also repeatedly appealed to the Government to start negotiations. Akava does not want the labour market model to be regulated by law, which would shackle sector-specific salary development. The confederation of unions also criticised the restriction of the right to take industrial action, the conclusion of fixed-term employment relationships without reasonable grounds, the facilitation of personal dismissal, the uncontrolled expansion of local agreement and the excessively drastic and rapid cuts to unemployment security. In Akava’s opinion, the Government should also reconsider making the first day of sick leave unpaid and abolishing the adult education allowance.

Walkouts will take place in the following cities:

The Helsinki Metropolitan Area (Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen, Vantaa), Tampere, Turku and possibly other cities.

Who is entitled to participate in the protest?

Political protest is everyone’s fundamental right, but everyone decides on their own participation.

Does the protest involve those who are not members of the union?

Yes, it does. Anyone can take part in the political demonstration, regardless of whether they are a union member or not.

Who can participate in the walkouts in the abovementioned cities?

The employed members of the abovementioned Akava affiliates may participate in the walkouts in accordance with their respective organisation’s decision. By decision of the organisation, the affiliates have specified and delimited by organisation the members who can participate in the protest (walkouts). For civil servants, political expression is illegal, so they cannot participate in the walkouts.

I’m not sure whether I can participate in the protest

In principle, all employees can take part in the protest. However, civil servants cannot. If you are still uncertain, please contact your trade union.

Will I get paid if I leave work to take part in the protest?

The employer can withhold an employee’s salary for the period of participation in the protest. Akava affiliates have decided not to pay a strike allowance for the duration of the walkout.

Is participation in the walkouts obligatory?

A member is not obligated to participate. Participation in the political protest against the Government’s working-life measures is voluntary.

Can the employer refuse my participation?

An employee cannot refuse an employee’s participation.

However, this is not the case for civil servants, as it is illegal for civil servants to participate in political protests. Under the legislation governing civil servants, a civil servant does not have the right to participate in a political protest.

The employer may not collect lists of participants in the protest, for example.

Do I need to inform my employer in advance of my participation?

The protest is not aimed at the employer; it is a political one. Therefore, there is no obligation to notify, as political industrial action is not subject to an advance notification obligation.

My employer is prohibiting me from participating on the grounds of safety, emergency work or protection work. What should I do?

The walkouts do not endanger anyone’s life or safety. Tasks that may be affected will also be performed during the walkout. In many sectors, there is no work that could be interpreted as emergency or protection work, so the employer cannot deny participation on that basis. The employer cannot prohibit participation in a protest on the grounds of its right to direct.

Can participation have consequences?

The protest is legal, which means that you have the right to participate. Your employer cannot prohibit you from participating or punish you on the basis of your participation.

The employer cannot impose any sanctions whatsoever on an individual employee who participates in a political protest decided by their own trade union during working hours. Sanctions cannot be used even as a threat. If you are threatened with sanctions, please contact your own union.

Can there be consequences for me if I participate in the walkouts?

The only possible consequence may be a salary withholding for the duration of the walkout. It is illegal for the employer to take any other action against you.

The walkouts are taking place in the middle of my shift. Should I return to my workstation as soon as the walkouts end at 4 p.m.?

In principle, you should return to work as soon as possible after the end of the protest.

Absence from work is affected by the length of time it takes for you to participate. If you are travelling a longer distance, it will also take more time for you to travel.

Can a manager participate in the walkout even if they are the employer’s representative?

Yes, they can participate.

What if I get sick?

If you get sick before the start of the walkout, you must also be paid your sickness allowance for the duration of the walkout. In this case, immediately deliver the medical certificates and other necessary documents to your employer.

How do I get to the protest site?

If you are unable to attend, you can show your support by participating in the discussion on social media and by sharing posts related to the protest.

More information in our leaflet

Akavan ratkaisuehdotukset lehtinen 2024