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Walkout slows teleoperator customer services

IT staff working for Barona and Manpower are off the job until late Friday, hampering customer service operations of Finland's telecommunications operators.

nainen puhuu mikrofoniin
Customer service staff will be in short supply. Image: Pertti Pitkonen / Yle

Employees of the temporary labour companies Barona and Manpower began a two-day walkout at 6 am Thursday. It is to continue until midnight Friday.

Taking part are some 600 information technology experts working as customer service subcontractors around Finland. The walkout is expected to limit customer service at telecoms operators.

The Trade Union Pro says the subcontractors are protesting plans by Barona and the Service Sector Employers group Palta to shift them and eventually all customer service workers to a different collective agreement, which would lower their wages.

Lower wages under new contract

It says the industrial action involves clerical staff at Barona Projektit and Barona Customer Care in Joensuu and Kuusamo as well as ManpowerGroup Contact Centers in Joensuu, Jyväskylä, Loimaa and Turku.

"This issue is important to the entire IT sector and clerical workers. Being covered by a different contract would mean about a 30 percent reduction in earnings and benefits compared to the current Pro IT sector agreement,” said Arto Heikkilä, head of Pro's Collective Bargaining Department in a statement.

Opposition leader and SDP chair Antti Rinne led Pro from its inception in 2011 until 2014.

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