The cities of Rovaniemi and Oulu, among others, have announced a possible strike by municipal employees, which would affect the opening hours of schools and kindergartens on Wednesday and Thursday.
Collective bargaining between employers ‘representatives and municipal workers’ unions has stalled, and unions are now calling for a strike that threatens to shut down schools and some public services across the country this week.
The strike affects schools in Jyväskylä, Turku, Oulu and Rovaniemi.
Jyväskylä had already decided to close its school and part of its kindergartens on Tuesday morning, if the strike continues, says the city’s director of basic education services. Sami Lahti.
"Difficult decision, but we can’t hold classes in a strike situation," Lahti said.
The Public Sector Professional Consultative Organization (Juko), the Public Sector Trade Union Confederation (JHL) and the Trade Union Confederation (Jyty) are involved.
If no agreement is reached on collective bargaining, the strikes will affect communities in different forms depending on the municipality.
For example, in the city of Lapland in Rovaniemi, the councilors have decided that schools would be closed if the strike continues.
On the other hand, the city of Oulu has decided to offer distance education to high school students, but to close kindergartens in case of a strike.
At the same time, a two-day strike threatens next week in the cities of Kuopio and Tampere if no agreement is reached.
No agreement has been reached so far
Last week, the municipality’s employee groups rejected a conciliation proposal made by a Finnish labor mediator Vuokko Piekkala. By Monday afternoon, the parties said no agreement had been reached Päivi Niemi-LaineJHL chair.
The main problem in the negotiations is related to employee pay programs.
"I think something’s going to happen this week" Chairman of the Education Union (OAJ), Olli Luukkainen, said. Juko represents OAJ in negotiations.
The municipal dispute will be resolved at the same time as the ongoing negotiations with health care workers, many of whom are also employed by municipalities.
The associations of municipalities have also issued a strike warning in the Helsinki metropolitan area, which means that many employees of the municipalities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen would strike on 19-25 April if no agreements were reached.
At the same time, private schools also received a trade union strike warning in April for the same period, which affected 15 private schools in Helsinki.
In the private education sector, negotiations have been going on for almost two months.
Source: The Nordic Page