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Cleaners' and facility services strike begins early Thursday

Some 25,000 cleaners and property managers at firms including ISS, L&T and SOL begin a two-day walkout at midnight.

Siivojaa kerää roskapusseja.
Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
Yle News

About 25,000 cleaning and custodial employees belonging to the Service Union United PAM will walk off the job on Thursday. The two-day industrial action begins at midnight, following a smaller-scale strike last week. The firms hit by the walkout include large employers such as SOL, ISS and L&T.

PAM launched the strike after negotiations with the Real Estate Employers’ Association (Kita) broke down early Thursday evening without an agreement.

Earlier in the day, the trade union rejected a reconciliation proposal put forth by the national labour mediator.

The talks ended with the two sides still disagreeing about the size of wage increases. The union had previously already rejected two reconciliation proposals given by the national mediator.

In the settlement proposal rejected by PAM on Thursday morning, the increases had been changed from percentages to euros. Such increases would boost all employees’ wages by the same amount, thus proportionally benefitting low-wage workers the most.

Despite this requested change, the union still saw the proposed increase as too low. In the latest settlement proposal, the increase would have been 91 euros per month.

Originally, PAM had aimed for an increase of about 200 euros in monthly salaries.

"Of course, we have come down from this, and are now talking about an increase of around 100 euros," PAM chair Annika Rönni-Sällinen told Yle.

According to Pia Gramén, CEO of the real estate employers’ group, the workers' wage demands have been tough.

"The demands have been excessive compared to the companies' and the industry's ability to pay," she said.

In Gramén’s view, the demands of employers and employees are still far apart. She sees even a 91-euro increase in monthly wages as too much for the industry.

Mediation in the dispute is to continue on Monday.

Medical, nuclear facilities and abattoirs unaffected

Emergency work and tasks where a strike would endanger activities vital to society will not be affected by the strike, PAM said.

The strike does not apply to cleaning work related to surgical procedures in specialised medical care, the cleaning and maintenance of nuclear power plants or slaughterhouses.

PAM has also threatened a third two-day strike that will begin on 30 March if no agreement is reached before then.

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