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APN podcast: Working to survive in Finland

All Points North hears from nurses who say the Finnish healthcare system is on life support as low pay repels people from the sector. The show also finds out what types of jobs Ukrainians are landing in Finland.

Health care workers Tay Pham (on left) and Minna Päivinen at a Helsinki hospital's intensive care unit, featuring the All Points North podcast logo. Image: Benjamin Suomela / Yle

A wave of strikes is sweeping over Finland, as people try to make a dent in the cost of living crisis.

Paper workers are out on strike at UPM, municipal staff are taking industrial action across the country—and a major nurses' strike is exposing cracks in the Finnish healthcare system.

"We are obviously striking because of the poor pay. I think everyone should be able to have a wage that's a living wage. My base salary because I've worked for a long time is about 2,600 euros and that's before taxes," Helsinki nurse Minna Clements said of her reasons for joining the ongoing healthcare strike.

She told APN that the chronic shortage of trained nurses was putting the entire system at risk. "If we want to have universal healthcare, like we do at the moment, if we don't do anything, it's just going to disappear. I guess you won't miss it until you need it and you don't have it."

You can listen to the full podcast using the embedded player here, via Yle Areena, Spotify (siirryt toiseen palveluun), Apple Podcasts (siirryt toiseen palveluun) or wherever you get your podcasts.

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APN also explores what kinds of jobs Ukrainian arrivals, most of whom are working-age women, are finding. Finland, like many other countries, is fast-tracking Ukrainians for protection and employment. This means waiving residence permit requirements and providing almost instant access to labour markets.

Yle News reporter Adam Smith told APN that Ukrainians in Finland were being recruited into the restaurant industry, as the threshold for entry was low compared to other sectors.

"The process of getting the qualifications they gained in Ukraine recognised can be a very, very long process. It takes months or even years," said Smith.

Join the conversation!

This week's show was presented by Zena Iovino and Egan Richardson, with additional reporting by Adam Smith.The producer was Mark B. Odom and the sound engineer was Anders Johansson.

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