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Minister Lindén: Patient Safety Act on hold after strike postponement

Healthcare unions called off the planned industrial action as the proposed law change would have effectively forced nurses to return to work.

Aki Lindén tiedotustilaisuudessa.
Minister for Family Affairs and Social Services Aki Lindén (SDP). Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle
Yle News

A controversial new law will not progress any further through Parliament, at least for the time being, according to Minister for Family Affairs and Social Services Aki Lindén (SDP), as a planned strike by healthcare workers has been postponed.

"When there is no strike, there is no need for such a law," Lindén said during an interview on Yle TV1's current affairs programme A-studio on Tuesday evening. "Now, a new situation has arisen."

His comments come after healthcare worker unions Tehy and SuPer announced the cancellation of a nurses' strike that had been scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

The groups said the decision was made in response to the threat of the Patient Safety Act being passed into law, which could have effectively forced striking nurses back to work on the grounds of ensuring patient safety.

Both unions argue the law infringed upon their right to strike and added that they are preparing for mass resignations as well as other measures as they step up their demands for better pay and working conditions in the healthcare sector.

When asked on A-Studio about the possibility of mass resignations, Lindén said the government may take further action if such a move materialised.

"What form it takes, what the law will be like, it will certainly be a different way of reacting than it had been until now," he said.

On Wednesday, the tabloid Iltalehti reported (siirryt toiseen palveluun) (in Finnish) a claim that the appearance of Millariikka Rytkönen, chair of the Tehy union, on Tuesday evening's episode of A-Studio was cancelled by Yle at the request of Minister Lindén.

In a tweet, Rytkönen wrote that her invitation to appear on the show was cancelled about two hours before broadcast. In response, A-Studio's official Twitter account said that a decision was made to only have Lindén on the show as he had become a central figure in the ongoing dispute.

"We ended up hosting just Aki Lindén on his own because the voices of other people related to this topic have already been extensively heard in Yle's news and current affairs content. Linden became a key figure because of the criticism leveled at him, and we wanted him as our guest," the tweet said.

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