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Historically extensive strike warning for municipal sector: If no agreement is reached, ten cities will go on strike at the beginning of May

Trade Union JHL, Trade Union Jyty and Juko have filed a one-week strike warning for 3-9 May. The strike applies to ten cities. If no agreement is reached in the municipal sector’s labour dispute, the strike will begin.

The week-long strike is set to begin on 3 May in Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo, Kauniainen, Turku, Tampere, Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Oulu and Rovaniemi, if no agreement is reached in the municipal sector’s labour dispute before that.

The strike warning applies to the following municipal-sector agreements: General collective agreement for the municipal sector (KVTES), health and social services sector agreement (SOTE), and the agreements for the education sector (OVTES), hourly paid personnel (TTES), and technical personnel (TS). In addition, for JHL’s part, the strike warning applies to the collective agreement for employers’ association Avaintyönantajat Avainta ry which municipal-owned companies comply with, and the Seure Employees Services collective agreement (SEURETES).

Work tasks that must be performed in order to protect people’s life, health or assets are ruled out of the strike.

Simultaneous strike wave in largest cities

This is already the fifth strike warning filed by JHL, Jyty and Juko after Local Government and County Employers KT interrupted the collective agreement negotiations in February. National Conciliator Vuokko Piekkala’s conciliation proposal was rejected by the organisations as completely insufficient. After that, the conciliator asked Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen to found a conciliation board to solve the tricky dispute. The board was established on Friday 8 April. The conciliation board’s work is not even close to being finished.

If the strike starts on 3 May, it will apply to a record number of municipal employees, over 81,000. Previously, the unions that filed the strike warning have organised isolated strikes in various cities. Now, the strike wave will cover all ten cities simultaneously.

Previously, JHL, Jyty and JUKO have declared a one-week strike concerning the municipal sector in Helsinki Metropolitan Region during 3-9 May. In addition, a ban on overtime and shift swaps has been declared for the entire country starting from 18 April. The ban will be in place until further notice. According to the original schedule, the strike was  supposed to start already on 19 April. However, the Minister of Employment decided to postpone the strike by two weeks.

In addition, a ban on overtime and shift swaps concerning the entire country has been declared. The ban will start on 18 April.

– Our message to the conciliation board is clear. A solution that lifts low-pay employees from the pay gap must be achieved for the municipal sector. The pay regime must be targeted for the entire municipal sector in such a way that raises in euros are targeted for the lowest pay grades. The regime will improve the municipalities’ and the starting wellbeing services counties’ ability as employers to attract new employees and hold on to the old ones, JHL president Päivi Niemi-Laine states.

– Everyone has during their lifetime used services produced by municipal employees, and everyone regards them as important. It is completely obvious that the employees producing these services for us deserve significant pay raises and a level of income they can live on. We must absolutely get a pay regime for the municipal sector and wellbeing services counties. It will help fix several shortcomings related to pay in the sector, Jyty president Jonna Voima demands.

– The employer’s complete lack of sympathy for the employee party’s justified demands has led to the current negotiation crisis. The stakes are now high. Now, we see how much municipal work is appreciated in the Finnish society. Now, we will solve how the municipal sector can attract new employees and hold on to the old ones. The employees are proud of the work they do and regard it as meaningful, as do the citizens. It’s now the employer’s turn, JUKO’s board chair Olli Luukkainen sums up.

More information and comments to the media:

President of Trade Union Jyty: Jonna Voima, 050 591 2341

President of Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL: Päivi Niemi-Laine, 040 702 4772

Negotiation Organisation for Public Sector Professionals JUKO, board chair Olli Luukkainen (The Trade Union of Education in Finland OAJ), 050 065 2872