Finlands Prime Minister Resigns Over Postal Service Dispute

HELSINKI—Finlands prime minister resigned Dec. 3 after a key coalition partner withdrew its support from his five-party government, following a strike at the countrys postal service that spread to the national flag carrier Finnair.

Antti Rinne, who took office in June, has faced heavy criticism in recent days over how he and a fellow Social Democratic minister dealt with a two-week strike of the countrys state-owned postal service Posti in November.

Rinne, a former trade union leader, and Sirpa Paatero were accused of giving inaccurate and contradictory information in the run-up to the strike, specifically over the transfer of work contracts for 700 Posti package handlers, which effectively would have led to lower pay. Paatero, a minister who was in charge of state-owned companies, resigned Nov. 29.

Rinne had been under pressure for days over the Posti case and his role in the strike that ended on Nov. 27 after a compromise deal was reached that allowed package handlers to remain under current work contracts for now.

He said it became “obvious” after Paateros resignation that the Posti affair, which he described as “a messy case with plenty issues to be cleared,” wouldnt be settled with the ministers departure.

“My biggest mistake has been that Ive trusted only in the information Ive been presented with,” Rinne said, without elaborating.

Rinne had accused Postis senior management of misleading him over potential pay cuts.

The strike led to a one-day sympathy strike by the Nordic countrys transport sector, including Finnair, which had to cancel almost 300 flights.

Rinne, who will remain in post until a successor is decided upon next week, has denied any wrongdoing. His government holds a comfortable majority of 117 seats in the 200-seat Eduskunta, Finlands parliament.

His resignation prompted the formal resignation of the Cabinet, which is made up of Rinnes Social Democratic Party, the Center Party, the Greens, the Left Alliance, and the Swedish Peoples Party of Finland.

Lawmakers will decide on a new prime minister next week. Until then, the current Cabinet will continue as a caretaker government until a new one takes over as planned Dec. 13, according to Finnish media. Its unclear whether Rinne will represent Finland at next weeks European Union leaders summit in Brussels. Finland currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU.

The Social Democrats retain the power to appoint one of their own to the post of the prime minister, and are set to decide in the coming days on Rinnes successor.Read More – Source

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