Saturday June 25, 2022

School activities to suspend as unions call strike

Published : 06 Apr 2022, 04:27

  DF Report

DF File Photo.

Municipal workers at different cities announced to go for a strike, which would affect the opening hours of schools and daycare centres on Wednesday and Thursday.

The trade unions have called the strike as the collective bargaining talks between employer representatives and municipal workers' unions were suspended.

Academic activities at the Schools in Jyväskylä, Turku, Oulu and Rovaniemi will be affected due to the strike.

Trade Union of Education in Finland (OAJ), Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL) Organisation for Public Sector Professionals (Juko) and the Trade Union (Jyty) also threatened to go for strike at fifteen private schools in Helsinki for a week starting 19 April unless a solution is found for the private education sector before that, said OAJ in a press release.

A strike in private schools in Helsinki threatens 19-25 April. that is, concurrently with the large-scale municipal strike announced in the Helsinki metropolitan area.

The threat of a strike by schools in Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen is part of the strike by JUKO and JAU. In Helsinki, the strike of teaching staff would thus extend to private schools as well.

OAJ, JHL and Jyty on Monday issued the strike warning for the private education sector to the National Conciliator and Sivistystyönantajat ry (Sivista).

“There was no other option left. We persistently sought a solution, but Sivista did not agree to our alternative proposals, but maintained its view that family leave reform is being carried out by weakening the conditions of employment for teachers,” said OAJ’s Chief of Negotiations Eila Urpilainen.

“There was no way the OAJ could agree to this. This is also an important issue in principle. The reform is decided by the legislature and is intended to promote equality between work and family life. It does not happen by weakening teachers' working conditions,” Urpilainen added.

The suspension of negotiations concerns both the collective agreement in the private education sector and the agreement on adult vocational training centers.

They have a total of about 9,400 OAJ members. In addition to private schools in general education, the agreement on private education sector applies to a number of vocational schools and almost all polytechnics, to basic and liberal arts schools, and to folk high schools and sports colleges, among others.

In addition to teachers, Sivista’s contracts apply to the administrative and support staff of the educational institutions represented by JHL and Jyty.

Unlike the rest of the country, there are plenty of private schools in Helsinki. They are mainly traditional private schools that remained with their former owners when Finland transferred to comprehensive school system in the 1970s. Schools operate at primary as well as secondary level.

The strike warning affects the following schools on April 19-25: Apollon yhteiskoulu, The English School of Helsinki, Helsingin Saksalainen Koulu, Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu, Helsingin Uusi yhteiskoulu, Helsingin yhteislyseo, Herttoniemen yhteiskoulu, International School of Helsinki, Kulosaaren yhteiskoulu, Lauttasaaren yhteiskoulu, Maunulan yhteiskoulu ja Helsingin matematiikkalukio, Munkkiniemen yhteiskoulu, Oulunkylän yhteiskoulu, Pohjois-Haagan yhteiskoulu and Töölön yhteiskoulu. 

“OAJ wants to achieve agreements primarily by negotiating, but even the persistent effort did not work this time. It is quite odd that on every single negotiation round with the employer, we have to debate teachers’ salaries and terms of employment so that we get teachers even the same as other employees. You would think that now is the time to reward teachers and not punish them,” OAJ President Olli Luukkainen said.

Luukkainen said that teachers build the future with their work, and it is in Finland’s interest that working conditions in the field are kept fair and competitive.

The dispute over the terms of employment in the private education sector will next move to the table of the National Conciliator Vuokko Piekkala.