Fighting The Government Over Unemployment ‘Punishment’
A Helsinki man says he’s surprised by the success of his citizens’ initiative. Martin-Éric Racine has had more than 100,000 supporters of his demand to cancel a controversial new law that cuts 4.65% from unemployment benefits if people don’t find work or go on a training programme. The initiative must now be discussed by parliament which is split in half on political lines: the right-of-centre government coalition says it will get people back to work and reduce unemployment. The opposition says it’s an unfair measure which unfairly punishes people. Read more at our original story here.
Bank Strike Continues
Bank branches across Finland are closed for a second day, with deadlock in talks between unions, employers and mediators. The strike is over weekend working conditions and pay. In practice, it means most bank branches all over Finland are closed for business – including Nordea, OP, Aktia and Danske Bank. However, Handelsbanken, Hypo and S-Bank will try to offer services in their branches. Banks say online banking, card services, payments and cash machines should work as normal. Read more about the strike here.
Giving Up Alko
More than half of Finns would abolish Alko’s monopoly. That’s the findings of a new poll by the Uutissuomalainen newspaper group this morning. 55% of people in the survey said they would stop Alko’s exclusive rights to sell wines and spirits. But 30% of people say they would keep the monopoly as it currently stands. A thousand people were questioned in the study.
A poll for state-funded broadcaster YLE finds incumbent President Sauli Niinistö (NCP) still comfortably ahead of the chasing pack before the presidential elections which take place at the end of the month. Niinistö has 78% support in the new survey, down 8% from a few months ago. His nearest rival is Pekka Haavisto (Greens) with 11% and Laura Huhtasaari (Finns) with 5%. The other five candidates fall at 4% or less. The first round of voting is on 28th January.
Friday Morning Weather
The temperatures are dropping fast in northern Lapland on Friday morning! According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI, residents in the north will see temperatures between -15°C and -24°C. It warms up above freezing into Central Finland but there will be snow across the region, from west coast to the eastern border first thing. That turns to rain in Uusimaa and along the south and southwest coast, as temperatures climb above zero.