Twenty thousand Turku students without lunch during ‘illegal’ strike

The three day strike has been called because employer Arkea has decided to switch collective bargaining agreements.

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File picture showing hot school meals at a primary school / Credit: News Now Finland

Up to 20,000 students and young people will be left without a hot lunch at school for the rest of the week due to strike action by union workers.

The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL has called the industrial action over employer Arkea’s decision to switch to a new labour agreement which would mean lower salaries for workers in school canteens.

The City of Turku and Arkea say the strike is illegal.

“The city did not have information on the time of the strike or its possible limits, so it was difficult to prepare for the strike and it was impossible to arrange school and kindergarten meals at this time” says Timo Jalonen from Turku’s Education Services.

Although primary schools and kindergartens in the city have some supplies, and three days worth of cookies have been delivered to schools for an afternoon snack, officials have informed parents the best way to ensure their child gets lunch this week is for them to bring food from home.

Employer Arkea says they’ve not made the decision to switch collective bargaining agreements lightly, but had to do it “to safeguard the company’s future and jobs.”