The trade union for public and welfare services (JHL) went on wildcat strike to oppose the "marketization" of Palmia, a municipally-owned service enterprise. Right-wing leadership of the city attempts to reorganise 50% of Palmia so that it must participate to tenders, which will lead to substantial wage cuts for the workers. The seizure of subway and tram transport by striking workers proved to be a powerful weapon in the struggle against the bosses. However, the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) organized replacement transportation to nullify its effect. Anarchists announced that they will block all the replacement buses and soon after that AKT (the union of bus drivers, amongst others) announced a strike on those routes. This morning not a single replacement bus left Rautatientori between 8:00 and 8:40 because anarchists and others physically blocked the route by standing in front of them and/or sitting in doorways. Everything went very well. However, HSL then announced that replacement buses would no longer go to Rautatientori but instead turn back eastwards upon arriving in Hakaniemi. It was then that things got worse. We split up into two groups so that a picket could be formed at Hakaniemi without abandoning Rautatientori. It was at this moment that police violently dispersed the picket line and started taking people into custody. Approximately six people were arrested in Rautatientori and lots of pictures began to circulate. When we got to Hakaniemi, there were more cops than protestors so only a minor delay was achieved and two comrades were arrested. Some people then went to Suvilahti and caused another delay, again at the price of two arrests by police. After this, they went to Kisahalli to wait for said comrades and others to be released by the police. Upon being released, these comrades were given freshly cooked food by some of their fellow pickets as a gesture of political solidarity. The picket received huge media coverage and surprisingly strong public support. It also incited significant opposition from right-wing reactionaries and others unmoved by the struggles of workers to exercise their collective agency in defence of public services. At the end of the day, the police had distributed some €500 in fines and some protesters suffered minor physical injuries
Solidarity with JHL! Workplace struggle against capitalism.
All photos by: A-ryhmä
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