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Healthcare worker unions threaten to increase strike action

The industrial action could last up to two weeks and involve some 40,000 healthcare workers.

Healthcare workers are joining other public sectors demanding for better pay and working conditions. Image: Arash Matin / Yle

Both the Finnish Union of Practical Nurses (SuPer) and the Union of Health and Social Care Professionals (Tehy) have issued a new strike warning that could see up to 13 hospital districts affected.

The planned action would take place between 1 and 15 April and involve some 40,000 healthcare professionals.

"Talks have progressed poorly in the past few days, after what seemed like a promising start. Some big issues have gone completely unaddressed, as presented in our rescue programme for the Sote (social and healthcare services) sector. The Sote sector is desperate for solutions regarding staff shortages," a joint report by Super and Tehy read, stressing that more than 30,000 healthcare workers are expected to retire in the next few years.

The unions have further called for a 3.6 percent increase on top of the annual pay rise over the next five years. This is something that employers have so far found too big of a demand.

Similar sentiments have also been observed by other public sectors including welfare and education, who have also threatened to increase industrial action.

Public sector trade unions JHL, Juko, Jyty and JAU have also warned that they will initiate a strike by the end of March if negotiations fail to reach an agreement.

"It is often mentioned how important public sector work, for example in the social welfare sector, is. However, this is not really reflected anywhere. The appreciation should also be evident in our pay slips," chief negotiator from the trade union for public sector workers (Juko) Perttu Mukkala said.

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