Helsinki (25.02.2022 - Heikki Jokinen) Negotiations with regard to local government social and health care collective agreements have not yet yielded any results. The pay rise demands of the unions and what employers are prepared to offer are markedly at odds this time round.

The two collective agreements in this sector expire at the end of February. The employees concerned are represented by Tehy - The Union of Health and Social Care Professionals in Finland and Super - the Finnish Union of Practical Nurses.

Tehy and Super have a clear goal, called the rescue programme of social and health care. The unions stress that there is an urgent need for more professionals in the branch.

According to them, there is a major shortage of social and health care professionals and the situation is becoming even more alarming. Nurses, public health nurses and practical nurses, top the list of professionals most sought after now, claim the unions.

So the unions have posed the question: How do we make this branch more attractive? And the answer: by improving pay and working conditions.

The concrete demand is to draft a five-year rescue programme that raises pay by 3.6 per cent per year on top of the standard pay increase. In the next five years, the unions estimate this would raise the basic salary, on average, by 492 euro per month for nurses and 427 euro for practical nurses.

This rescue programme would be separate from the branch collective agreements and financed directly by the state, the unions say.

In the collective agreements signed this year, the pay rise for 2022 has in most cases been 2 per cent. Tehy and Super’s demand would thus mean a 5.6 per cent pay rise now.

This would help to bridge the pay gap between female dominated and male dominated professions. The unions compare the 2 546 euro basic salary of a nurse with the 3 396 euro basic salary of a construction engineer on a local government job. 89 per cent of nurses are women, whereas 82 per cent of construction engineers are men.

Millariikka Rytkönen, Tehy President, believes the demand is both fair and realistic. The programme would cost some 300 million euro a year but she measures this against the total cost of the current healthcare expenditure which is 20 billion euro a year.

Read more:

New major collective agreement for the municipal sector health and social care workers (16.06.2021)

Local government deal struck, finally (29.05.2020)