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Mediators in nurses' labour dispute propose salary harmonisation in the sector

According to the mediators, there are no obstacles for employers to instruct regions to take action on wage harmonisation.

Care workers went on strike in Jyväskylä in April. Image: Niko Mannonen / Yle

Nurses' dispute mediators Elina Pylkkänen, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Labour and Economic Affairs, and Martti Hetemäki, former state secretary of the Ministry of Finance, suggested in an interview with newspaper Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that reforming the wage system would be a possible solution for the sector.

The mediators argued that the nursing unions Super and Tehy as well the municipal employers' group (KT) should all agree on reforming the sector's wage system. The money for the reform would be obtained from the salary programme and the coordination of salaries, referred to as salary harmonisation.

Tehy's chair Millariikka Rytkönen, stressed to news agency STT that salary harmonisation cannot be agreed upon between the nurses and the employers.

According to Hetemäki, he and Pylkkänen have discussed with legal scholars, and the mediators are of the opinion that there are no obstacles to employers' and employees' organisations instructing the regions to implement effective wage harmonisation.

Tehy and Super have already said before that they consider that the salary harmonisation required by law does not belong on the salary negotiating table — the main grievance of the dispute.

However, Rytkönen agreed with the mediators that the system needs to be radically reformed and that there is no salary development in the current apparatus.

Super's chair Silja Paavola told SYY that various models have been discussed but has not yet taken a position on what kind of model can be used moving forward.

Employers' organisation agrees

Head of KT Markku Jalonen considered the mediators' proposal a viable solution to the labour dispute.

"It is very much in line with the way of thinking at KT. In the municipal sector agreement that concluded in the spring, it was also agreed on the reform of salaries. In that sense, I consider this a good and well-founded proposal," Jalonen said.

Negotiations between the parties will continue next week. The reform of the salary system and salary harmonisation are currently being reviewed by both sides.

Hetemäki and Pylkkänen were previously on the mediation board that resolved the labour dispute in the municipal sector.

Super and Tehy have demanded a five-year salary programme in connection with salary increases, which would increase salaries by 3.6 percent every year for five years on top of the general salary bump.

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