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Public sector overtime and shift swap ban begins

Trade unions in the public sector launched a weeklong strike action on Monday to demand more pay.

Healthcare and public sector workers are demanding better pay and working conditions. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Public sector workers have launched a weeklong strike action, drawing attention to demands for better pay and working conditions.

The industrial action by public sector trade unions JHL, Juko and Jyty began on Monday and continues until Sunday, 27 March.

Despite the overtime and shift swap ban, workers will continue to perform duties that would, if not performed, threaten health and safety or cause life-threatening situations.

The strike action is a response to the breakdown in talks between public sector trade unions and Local Government and County Employers (KT).

The main sticking point is salaries. Public sector workers are demanding significant pay increases. KT said employees' demands were oversized and would require an additional 12 billion euros over the next five years, resulting in a 20-percent hike in employers' salary costs.

Last week, both the Finnish Union of Practical Nurses (SuPer) and the Union of Health and Social Care Professionals (Tehy) issued a 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.