Tampere University Hospital in July 2019. Pirkanmaa Well-being Services County on Monday confirmed that it is launching consultative negotiations concerning around 20,000 staff in order to rein in its costs. Among the key measures under consideration are streamlining the service network and reducing staff to the tune of 500 person years. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)


THE WELL-BEING SERVICES COUNTY of Pirkanmaa (Pirha) on Monday confirmed it will initiate consultative negotiations with a view to trimming its staff to the tune of 500 person-years and generating cost savings of 42 million euros as early as next year.

Pirha, the largest well-being services county in Finland, is presently on track to report a loss of 95 million euros for 2023.

Juhani Sand, the executive director at Pirha, stated yesterday at a press conference that the cost savings will be generated with arrangements affecting retirements and agency workers rather than primarily lay-offs, reported YLE.

Concerning around 20,000 employees, the consultative negotiations are to begin next Monday, 18 September. News of the negotiations have come as a shock to both employees and shop stewards, according to earlier reports by the public broadcasting company.

Another key cost-saving measure will be re-organising the service network – namely, by shutting down health care centres and inpatient wards. Pirha in August revealed that it intends to shut down the inpatient wards in Ikaalinen and Kuhmoinen in June 2024 and the wards in Ruovesi, Mänttä-Vilppula, Orivesi and Pirkkala by 2030.

The county stated yesterday it is also looking into the possibility of creating cost savings by updating service purchase agreements and reducing the use of both agency workers and leased premises. The share of agency workers has increased sharply in the county, accounting for 26 million euros of its costs.

“It’s got out of hand in recent times, and we’d like to start restricting the use of agency workers,” Marina Erhola, the chief executive officer at Pirha, was quoted saying on Monday by YLE.

The negotiations will also explore means to improve productivity, reduce overlap, scrap non-statutory duties and transfer staff from administrative and managerial duties to client and patient-related duties, the public broadcasting company summarised.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT