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Friday's papers: Labour settlement, alcohol sales, women earn most doctorates

Most of the morning newspapers on Friday carried reports of a late night agreement in the municipal sector to make up for reduced holiday pay and end a ban on overtime work and shift swaps.

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Image: Tero Valtanen / Yle

The late-edition Ilta-Sanomat reports that both main unions representing social and healthcare workers in municipal jobs announced that they are satisfied with the outcome of talks with employers. At the same time, the unions announced an immediate end to an overtime ban imposed on services including daycare and health.

The dispute centered on union demands for wage increases to offset cuts to holiday pay agreed in the government's competitiveness pact.

The agreement on wages will cover the next two years and two months.

According to Helsingin Sanomat, the deal will bring a general wage increase of no less than 1.25%, starting in May, plus a one-time payment averaging 260 euros per employee to compensate for lost holiday pay.

The settlement still requires approval by the boards of the unions.

Alcopop sales shoot up

New alcohol legislation that came into effect at the start of the year has allowed groceries, convenience stores and service stations to sell beverages with an alcohol content of up to 5.5%. In practice this has meant sales of class IV beers, and stronger ciders and alcopops than previously.

Helsingin Sanomat says that alcopops have turned out to have the biggest upswing in sales.

The paper quotes the head of assortments and pricing for the S-Group supermarket chain as saying that January sales of alcopops nearly doubled compared to the previous month, and half of those sales have been of the stronger 5.5% varieties.

At least one other supermarket chain reviewed by Helsingin Sanomat has seen a similar trend.

The state alcohol monopoly Alko says that it will not compete on price for beer or alcopop sales.

Although the growth in sales of alcopops has been strong, most supermarket alcohol sales are still in the form of beer. The S-Group chain reported that 86% of its alcohol sales in January were beer, and overall, the sale of strong beers made up only 5-10 percent of sales by retailers.

One reason cited is the higher tax on 5.5% beer. Most consumers are staying with lower-priced medium-strength beers.

All of the provisions of new alcohol legislation come into force at the start of March, and will bring a number of other changes, including longer opening hours for bars and Alko outlets, as well as direct sales to consumers by craft beer brewers.

Most doctoral dissertations by women

The Kuopio-based Savon Sanomat tells readers this morning about a survey showing that nationwide 52% of doctoral dissertations are created by women. At the University of Eastern Finland, that figure is higher, at 60%.

Academic Rector of the University of Eastern Finland Harri Siiskonen told the paper that he thinks this in part is a reflection of the generally higher rate of women to men undergraduate students and doctoral candidates. Men produce more doctoral dissertations only in some technical fields.

The terms of an agreement between the Ministry of Education and universities in Finland set a minimum target of 1,680 new doctorates annually. At the University of Eastern Finland, the largest numbers of doctorates are awarded by the faculties of medicine, science, and forestry. Half of those earning doctorates in the faculties of science and forestry are foreign students.

Olympic chill

The first results for Finnish participants at the Pyeongchang Olympics are in - three losses in curling for doubles team of Oona Kauste and Tomi Rantamäki.

Iltalehti reports that late night Finnish time, the Finns went down 7-5 in a match against the Russian OAR team of Anastasia Bryzgalova and Aleksandr Krushelnitshki.

On Thursday, the Finnish pair also lost against South Korea and Switzerland.

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