Nurses' pay demands

This is bound to cause palpitations in certain quarters:

[The general council of the Finnish Union of Health and Social Care Professionals (Tehy)] decided that the union aimed at an extra 15-per cent wage increase on top of the average pay rises secured by other unions.

The negotiation aim translates into raises of between 400 and 600 euros in monthly wages over the 30-month agreement period.

If there isn't plenty of negotiating room in those figures, I fear we're going to have a long, long strike. The demands are close to twice as large as the offer that was turned down.

Tehy is threatening with mass resignations in the middle of this month. How many nurses out of Tehy's 125'000 members would be involved is unclear; Tehy's chair commented in Verkkouutiset (fi) that even a few hundred resignations would have an effect. Unlike nurses on strike, those who resign aren't obliged to take care of patients who need urgent medical aid.

In the interest of balance (and with thanks to Egan for the link), here's an article comparing nurses' pay and working conditions in Finland and Sweden:
Five years ago Vaarala left Meilahti Hospital in Helsinki for Södersjukhuset in Stockholm. Her basic pay without extras shot up by nearly EUR 800. Like Meilahti, Södersjukhuset is a public sector hospital , and Vaarala did the same work in both facilities, as a nurse assisting in surgery.

"The pay was partially responsible for my move, but the greatest reason was that only fixed term jobs were available in Finland then. In Sweden I got a permanent post right away.

According to the article, Swedish nurses have seen their pay increase quickly in recent years due to a shortage of qualified personnel combined with more room for local pay negotiations, i.e. individual hospitals have been competing for available nurses so they've had to jack up their wage offers.


egan said...

I wonder how this might effect Finnish views of the EU, if those who resign go to Sweden and enjoy better salaries and a higher standard of living. Finland can be, erm, reluctant to live up to its obligations to migrant workers, maybe the prospect of becoming a net exporter of people will force them to come to terms with it?

Or maybe they'll just become ever more eurosceptic, who knows.

Ari said...

Going to Sweden to enjoy better salaries is a long-standing Finnish tradition; hundreds of thousands of people did it after the wars. As such, I'm not sure it would have any significant effect on attitudes toward migrant workers or the EU.

egan said...

But nurses who are going to be replaced by Phillipinos are a slightly different kettle of fish, no?

Ari said...

Yes. The absolute numbers would be far smaller in any scenario, but a shortage of people with specific skills will hurt anyway.

Incidentally, YLE had a fun little snippet (fi) today about Finnish health care employers trying to recruit Swedish nurses to come work in Finland. I'd imagine it isn't the easiest of sells.

sandy said...

The nurses strike is going to change the attitude to this hard working responsable body.The strike is going to cause havoc and it should.The majority of the resigning nurses are working in the most specialised areas.Finnish nurses do not go to Sweden,Norway,UK,Saudi for tradition they go for better salaries and superior working conditions.They are contracted because they are probably in the group of the worlds best nurses.If nurses are to be recruited from abroad where would they come from?Asia,ex eastern european countries.Why?Because these are the only areas where the salaries are lousier than Finland.For the future of the Finnish health system the nurses have to get this well earned rise,to stop the mass exodus,thank god the younger generation do not except the dictatorship ides of the Health Boards.