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Public services help overcome crisis – Supportive and stable funding is needed for them, Trade Union JHL reminds

Finland's economic outlook is dim, but public services and their funding must be maintained. The Finnish Government must in their budget session remember that the state economy has to be balanced by increasing income, not by compromising on services, Trade Union JHL President Päivi Niemi-Laine emphasises.

Finland’s economy is experiencing unprecedented insecurity in the upcoming year. Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine has disrupted the energy market, and consumer prices are skyrocketing at the fastest pace in decades. Public services keep the daily life of Finns rolling, also during insecure times. The Government must therefore in their budget session make sure that public service funding is in order, Päivi Niemi-Laine, President of the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL reminds.

– Irresponsible ideas have been thrown about in public about cutting back on services at the same time as those with a small income are struggling for their livelihood in the midst of an inflation ordeal. This is an unsustainable road leading to far-fetching problems and to services being concentrated only for the affluent. The state economy must be looked after. However, one can find balance by increasing income, not by worsening the services for the people in Finland, Niemi-Laine booms.

According to Niemi-Laine, one example of investments needed by the public sector is the security of supply. The corona crisis has showed unambiguously that the National Emergency Supply Agency is an important part of Finland’s crisis resilience. Its financing must be fixed, and there has to be enough staff.

Niemi-Laine reminds that numerous occupations and workplaces need staff, from nursing homes to libraries and pre-schools.

– Well-functioning public services mean that everyone can get care on time, children are educated and cultural services are looked after.

Municipalities, wellbeing services counties and the Finnish state will be hit with an even worse shortage of labour already in the upcoming years, as large numbers of top-notch professionals will retire from the health and social services sectors and early childhood education and care, among other sectors. Even according to law, services must be put right. It is also economically responsible, as it prevents problems from accumulating.

– For instance young people have faced a greater amount of loneliness and insecurity in the midst of the corona pandemic. The sector’s resources must be safeguarded. Everyone is aware of the situation within early childhood education and care, the shortage of employees is already nearing a disaster. The Government should abolish the failed Act on Early Childhood Education and Care and make sure that professional children’s nurses can find work also in the future.

At the moment, the nursing quota discussion is completely overheated, and many people are already demanding that the upcoming nursing quota within elderly care is put on hold. JHL reminds that there is a faster and better solution to the sector’s problem.

– A significant number of care assistants must be hired to residential care homes and elsewhere within elderly care. Their duties include serving food and helping with cleaning. Nurses can then focus on the job that they have trained for.

In Niemi-Laine’s opinion, one solution to the shortage of labour would be immigrants. A large number of Ukrainians has had to escape the horrific situation in their home country, and some of them have come to Finland.

– Our duty is to help these people integrate in the Finnish society. It means, for instance, a fast and easy access to language training. This also opens up a path to working life. People who have escaped the war can get at least a little bit of their everyday life back. They can then, for their part, be involved in solving the shortage of competent employees in the labour market.

More information:
President Päivi Niemi-Laine 040 702 4772