School closures are expected as municipal strikes spread to several Finnish cities

School closures are expected as municipal strikes spread to several Finnish cities

Public sector employees are organizing a series of strikes to put pressure on employer groups to accept pay rise demands.

The unions currently involved in the industrial action represent, among others, nurses, teachers, doctors and staff from schools and early childhood education and other municipal services.

Minister of Labor Tuula Haatainen (SDP) has taken a rare step and set up a conciliation board to mediate a dispute in the municipal sector. The main threshold in the negotiations relates to employee pay programs, which aim to improve wages in addition to annual increases in the cost of living.

Municipal employee groups have previously rejected a settlement proposal made by a national labor mediator in Finland, which affected all more than 420,000 employees in the municipal sector.

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Schools and services hit in Tampere and Kuopio

The strike series of the Public Sector Professional Consultative Organization (Jukon) is the largest strike event in the municipal sector in decades, and it largely affects basic education, early childhood education, library and museum services.

Juko’s member unions have invited their members to strike in Kuopio and Tampere on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 12-13.

In Tampere, the city has decided to close schools during the strike, saying that without a sufficient number of staff, students’ right to a safe study environment would otherwise be jeopardized.

Kuopio also plans to restrict the city’s services and interrupt both primary and secondary school hours. However, the strike will not affect the schools in Alava and Paloaho.

Last week, thousands of municipal employees went on strike in Jyväskylä, Rovaniemi, Oulu and Turku.

Strike warnings have also been issued for Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa. However, this activity is not scheduled to begin until after Easter, Tuesday, April 19th.

The nurses’ strike continues in six hospital districts

The strike by nursing staff in six hospital districts began on April 1st. It includes, with some operational exceptions, the hospital districts of Northern Ostrobothnia, Northern Savonia, Southwest Finland, Pirkanmaa, Helsinki and Uusimaa, and Central Finland.

There are currently about 25,000 nurses on strike. Current operations will continue until April 15.

If no agreement is reached by the middle of the month, the strike will be extended to seven more hospital districts, South Karelia, North Karelia, Kymenlaakso, Päijät-Häme, Satakunta, South Ostrobothnia and Lapland.

If this happens, it will involve a total of 13 hospital districts and about 40,000 nursing professionals.

Source: The Nordic Page