A few weeks ago, Tehy President Millariikka Rytkönen stated publicly that the organisation will do everything in its power to prevent the Finnish Government's plans threatening the female-dominated sector. The key areas in the Government Programme were also addressed at Tehy’s board meeting today.
According to the Government Programme, the Act on Mediation in Labour Disputes will be amended so that the ‘general baseline’ cannot be crossed by the mediation proposals of the National Conciliator or the mediation committee. In the future, legislation would prevent female-dominated sectors from striving for larger raises than male-dominated sectors through industrial action. The Government Programme also includes an entry about legislation that secures the provision of protection work in conflict situations, which would directly restrict the right of industrial action in the social services and health care sector.
Several other elements compromising labour legislation have also been included in the Government Programme. For example, a fixed-term work contract lasting up to a year would not require special grounds, which would mean that discrimination due to pregnancy would continue to grow in this female-dominated sector.
"This legislation now being planned is structurally discriminatory and would doom female-dominated fields to an eternal wage gap. We are about to witness the end of equality in Finland", says Millariikka Rytkönen, president of Tehy.
Additionally, the funding of the social services and health care sector may be facing cuts totalling billions in a situation where the finances of the wellbeing services counties are already severely in the red, delayed access to health care is common, and the preparedness for facing new crises is questionable. In a situation such as this, the funding of social and health care services should be strengthened, not undermined.
Tehy considers these government plans highly risky. Elsewhere in Europe, efforts have been made to strengthen public health care after the Covid-19 pandemic, to increase societies’ preparedness for future crises and new pandemics. Health care has to work, even in emergency conditions.
According to Rytkönen, it is difficult to understand why the Finnish government wants to undermine the female-dominated social services and health care sector and the status of nurses so drastically through its actions.
"Last year, we achieved a contract solution that significantly improves the pay and employment conditions in the social services and health care sector and makes it possible, for example, to alleviate the shortage of nurses. With these proposals, the Government is now pulling the rug from under our feet. The elements shortening the care queues or improving the attractiveness of the sector, for example, are nothing but empty words if they also cut the funding and severely reduce the rights of nurses", Rytkönen says.
Rytkönen points out that all proposals weakening the status of employees have been included in the Government Programme as very concrete actions, leaving the tripartite preparation of employment legislation a mere formality.
"I have heard many times that the Government is not a labour market body. Which rendersit quite strange, then, that the Government often takes a place at the negotiation table when they want to undermine the employees’ rights. Orpo’s government is striving to set a new a record in this. Why do we even need the Confederation of Finnish Industries anymore", Rytkönen asks.
Tehy is organising a demonstration to protest against the proposals in the Government Programme and to save the social services and health care sector
in Helsinki on Wednesday 20 September 2023, starting at 4:00 pm. More information about the demonstration.
Tehy President Millariikka Rytkönen, can be contacted through a special advisor, tel. +358 400 540 005