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Unions demand clear pay rise for the municipal sector

Trade unions representing the municipal sector are seeking a significant pay rise in the next round of collective bargaining.

‘The public sector has already done its part in the wake of massive cuts’, the unions say in their joint statement. ‘An unfair cut in the holiday bonus was forced on the public sector as part of the national labour pact.’

The unions are standing firm and and say the incomes of public sector employees cannot be frozen. Strengthening domestic demand will strengthen employment.

Behind the demands are the three main bargaining partners of the local government sector, JUKO, KoHo and Municipal Trade Union. The Negotiation Organisation for Public Sector Professionals JUKO covers several unions from the Akava trade union federation.

KoHo includes three unions from the STTK trade union federation representing health care and emergency services. The Municipal Trade Union is a joint local government negotiation body for the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL from the SAK trade union federation and the Federation of Public and Private Sector Employees Jyty, which is member of STTK.

These three organisations negotiate municipal collective agreements for 432,000 employees in the sector.

The unions strenuously claim that the national labour market pact, the so called Competitiveness Pact from 2016 was much harder hitting on public sector employees than on those working in the private sector. Making cuts in the public sector and cutting pay for those employed in public services does nothing to bring new orders to the industry sector.

Employees in the public sector provide welfare services competently and guarantee the basic structures of society by ensuring social security is delivered to all who need it. Welfare services also help the export sector to increase productivity and contribute very much to GNP.

Good quality public services make Finland a welfare society, the unions stress.

Heikki Jokinen