The TEHY and SuPer nurses’ unions are stepping up their campaign of industrial action to secure a better pay offer from the municipal employers. The two unions have maintained an ban on overtime and shift changes since before the summer but have now tightened up those restrictions and also announced a series of strike actions beginning with a one-day stoppage in Kanta-Häme in the South West on 2 September. So far three further strikes – each of four days – have been declared in Turku, Helsinki and Oulu with two running from 6-9 September and the Oulu action running from 13 to 16 September. The unions have underlined the crisis facing the sector in terms of staff shortages and stressed that the government cannot ignore the situation and needs to address the key question of funding.
Health unions step up industrial action
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Following last month’s strike in university medical centres, the FNV and other trade unions organised another national strike on 26 October, this time affecting more than three times as many departments across the eight centres. The action is effectively imposing a Sunday service across 279 departments including operating theatres, radiology services, laboratories, outpatient clinics and various nursing departments. All emergency care continues. The unions are calling for a 3% pay increase for all workers and action to tackle understaffing and excessive workloads.
The FNV and other unions that organise in the eight university medical centres (UMCs) are planning a third day of industrial action on 25 November unless the employers show willingness to re-open negotiations over pay, workloads and staffing. This will be the third day of action in the UMCs that employ around 80000 workers. The employers have said that they will negotiate over allocation of the extra €60 million of funding for pay provided by the government. However, the unions argue that even with the additional money this would still leave a below-inflation pay rise for the next three years
A first wave of strike action across the care and community sector has involved hundreds of workers joining picket lines and protests calling for pay rises that they have been denied for 14 years. The SIPTU union, along with public services union Fórsa and the INMO nursing union, are calling on the government to agree increased funding for the sector to cover pay increases. The unions argue that the pay rises are needed to keep workers in line with the public sector, aid recruitment to tackle staff shortages and so address the threat to the quantity and quality of services provided. The three