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An overtime and shift-trading ban adopted by public sector employees may result in the cancellation of non-urgent doctor appointments.
An overtime and shift-trading ban adopted by public sector employees may result in the cancellation of non-urgent doctor appointments.

 

The overtime and shift-trading ban implemented today by municipal employees will have a negative impact on a wide variety of public services, says Henrika Nybondas-Kangas, the chief negotiator for Local Government Employers (KT).

The Finnish Union of Practical Nurses (Super), Union of Health and Social Care Professionals (Tehy), Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL) and Public Sector Professionals (JUKO) have instructed their members to turn down all requests to work overtime and trade shifts as of Tuesday.

A total of 180,000 public sector employees will thereby fall within the scope of the ban implemented in an attempt to find a settlement in the ongoing collective bargaining talks with KT.

The talks have dragged on due to a disagreement over measures to compensate employees for the cuts in holiday bonuses introduced as part of the competitiveness pact. The trade unions have demanded that the employees be paid a total of 300 million euros in compensation in 2018-2019.

“Our response so far has been that we’ve got no information as to who’d be funding all this. We’ll abide by the competitiveness pact. We don’t have a solution for the question of funding,” Nybondas-Kangas tells Uusi Suomi.

The trade unions have committed to providing all services deemed important for the lives and well-being of the public also during the industrial action.

Nybondas-Kangas reminds that employers may be able to cope with the situation depending on their staff resources and practices. Employers, she gauges, will primarily seek to address the situation by offering additional working hours to non-unionised employees and employees on fixed-term contracts.

“If you’re already faced with a staff shortage, the effects will be felt sooner,” she says.

“Tram service frequencies may become longer in the public transport of Helsinki. Food supply to elderly homes, daycare centres and hospitals may be disrupted. And it’s already clear that hospitals and health care centres may gradually start seeing a staff shortage,” adds Nybondas-Kangas.

The shortages may result in the cancellation of non-urgent patient calls, for example.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Jarno Mela – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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