OAJ and its negotiation organisation JUKO are involved in the extensive municipal sector strike that will initially concern the cities of Jyväskylä and Rovaniemi. The union employees of JUKO will strike on 23–24 March 2022, unless a solution to the agreement is found or the strike is postponed before these dates. The strike would concern over 2,200 OAJ members in Jyväskylä and Rovaniemi.
The strike will widely impact municipal services, as the main negotiating organisation JAU and its unions will also participate. JAU negotiates for the employment conditions of the members of the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL and the Federation of Public and Private Sector Employees Jyty.
The Ministry of Employment and the Economy can postpone the beginning of the strike by two weeks. In addition, a civil servants’ strike can be postponed by another week.
– OAJ defends the position of teachers by striking. It is never a good time for a strike, and OAJ wants to achieve agreements primarily by negotiating. We are still in the middle of a pandemic, and all this is small compared to the war in Ukraine; however, in the middle of a crisis, it is important to ensure not only the continuation of everyday life but also the building of the future, says Olli Luukkainen, President of OAJ and JUKO.
– We were forced to issue a strike warning in order to speed up the stalled agreement negotiations and to reach a solution as quickly as possible. All critical points remain open, such as the salary programme and the objectives of the municipal collective agreement for the education sector. The salary increases and the length of the agreement period are also still unresolved, and they are needed to ensure the appeal of the sector, says Petri Lindroos, Negotiations Director of OAJ.
Education sector to be widely impacted in strike-hit cities
The two-day strike in Jyväskylä and Rovaniemi on 23–24 March concerns work under the general collective agreement for municipal personnel (KVTES) and the municipal collective agreement for the education sector (OVTES). This includes early childhood education and basic education, for example.
In Rovaniemi, the strike also concerns upper secondary education. In Jyväskylä, however, upper secondary schools are excluded from the strike because their teachers are employed by the joint municipal authority. The strike does not concern upper secondary vocational education and training either, which is the responsibility of the joint municipal authority.
During the strike, teachers employed by the cities of Jyväskylä and Rovaniemi will not go to their workplace, provide distance teaching or handle any other work-related tasks. The employer will withhold the teachers’ salaries during the strike, but OAJ will pay a strike benefit of EUR 180 per strike day to its members. The strike benefit is a taxable benefit that must be separately applied for from OAJ. Members covered by the strike will receive separate instructions from OAJ closer to the strike.
OAJ and JUKO have trained the local strike operators of Jyväskylä and Rovaniemi. Information about local events and further instructions can be found through the local OAJ associations in the strike cities. Both in Jyväskylä and Rovaniemi, for example, a demonstration will be organised on the first day of the strike together with other unions.
Striking is a legal measure and the responsibility of the union
The strike is a legal measure that the trade union is responsible for. The employer is not allowed to pressure persons participating in the strike and cannot ask employees whether they are members of the union or have intentions to participate in the strike. It is now important to act in unison and to take part in the strike and the strike events, says OAJ’s Special Advisor Kaj Raiskio.
Today, JUKO informed the National Conciliator Vuokko Piekkala about the walkout. Issuing a notice to strike means that the conciliator will be working to find a solution for the situation. On 28 February, the Local Government and County Employers KT suspended negotiations on all collective agreements of the public sector.
OAJ strives for a multiannual salary programme
OAJ aims for, among other things, salary increases that ensure earnings development for teachers, a multiannual salary programme and the limitation of workload. Read more about the negotiation objectives here.
In order to survive in the future and be able to ensure a safe society, we need wisdom of the heart and a strong education path from early childhood education to university. Teachers are building the future, and it is in Finland’s best interest that we continue to have the best teachers in the world.
Answers to frequently asked questions regarding the strike
OAJ has compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the strike. You can find the questions and answers here.