Customers and a nurse at a health care centre in Kivelä, Helsinki, on 28 December 2022. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

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PIRKANMAA, the largest well-being services county in Finland, failed to reach a unanimous decision in the consultative negotiations it initiated in September, reports YLE.

The county announced the outcome of the negotiations earlier this month, revealing that it will make no temporary lay-offs and hardly any permanent lay-offs and will instead seek cost-savings by reducing service purchases and streamlining its service network.

An attempt to achieve permanent cost savings of 42 million euros as soon as next year, a sum that accounts for roughly half of the projected operating loss for this year, the negotiations concerned all roughly 20,000 employees of the well-being services county. Savings of roughly 12 million euros are to be achieved by trimming the headcount by 240 person-years.

“We’ll have to carry out redundancies,” Juhani Sand, the executive director at Pirkanmaa Well-being services county, conceded at a news conference on 15 November. “We principally aren’t proposing that people who work directly with patients or customers be laid off, but that the duties and location of work can change.”

Employees who refuse to accept the re-assignment, be it in terms of the location or job description, can be laid off.

Around 60 person-years will be reduced from expert and managerial services. Spending on customer, expert and information and communication technology services, meanwhile, will be reduced by a total of 24 million euros.

CEO Marina Erhola pointed out that the savings to be derived from managerial work are high relative to the total savings target, meaning many managerial employees will be re-assigned to manual duties.

“It’s possible that not everyone wants to do that, and those people will probably be faced with a change of employer,” she remarked.

Another key component of the belt-tightening campaign is the re-organisation of services – namely, the closure of health care centres or inpatient wards in some municipalities. A proposal has already been made to close the inpatient wards in Ikaalinen, Kuhmoinen and Ruovesi, and to close Rauhaniemi Hospital in Tampere, according to YLE.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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