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Care workers walk off the job in northwest Finland

Workers at a subsidiary of a private health care firm in the cities of Kemi and Tornio say employer cuts have worsened work well-being.

Länsi-Pohjan keskussairaalan pääovi
Image: Jutta Huovinen / Yle

Employees at a northwest Finland health care provider known as Länsi-Pohja staged a walkout on Thursday in protest of what they say is an increasingly debilitating workload. Länsi-Pohja is a joint company owned by the Meri-Lappi region, the cities of Kemi and Tornio, and Mehiläinen, one of Finland's largest private and public health care companies.

The new Länsi-Pohja hospital and health care centres in the cities of Tornio, Kemi and Keminmaa just opened last summer.

The workers participating in the walkout say they are doing so because the employers made changes that negatively affected their ability to cope with their work and their well-being at work.

Employees worried about patient safety

In a joint statement, the trade unions Tehy and SuPer say that the problems are a result of measures hastily imposed by management in an effort to cut costs.

They say that the pace of work is so intense that individual, quality care of patients is impossible.

Workers have expressed concerns about patient safety and their inability to perform their work well. Some employees have already quit due to the constant rush and changes to working conditions, the unions say.

The employees accuse Mehiläinen of dictating policy and undermining working conditions as well as failing to stick to the terms of their collective agreement.

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