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Finland: Passenger and freight train drivers threaten strike action

The Finnish Locomotive Drivers’ Union has announced a walkout in protest at plans to open the rail network to competition.

The plans were announced on Wednesday, and include the creation of three companies to control the rolling stock, real estate and maintenance of the Finnish railways, along with plans to open services to competitive tendering and other operators to enter the market.

The Finnish state railways company VR has announced that the drivers’ walkout will cause a shutdown of all passenger and freight train services in Finland starting on Monday 14 August at 6pm and will continue until the end of Tuesday at midnight.

This includes local HSL commuter trains in the capital region.

In a statement the drivers’ union says that it “cannot accept the way that passenger railways can be opened to competition and national assets destroyed”.

Drivers will return to work starting on Tuesday evening, with a near-normal service resumed on Wednesday 16 August—although cancellations and delays are still possible for a couple of days after the industrial action ends.