Wed Aug 29th, 2007 at 11:00:26 AM EST
Prior to the elections to the Eduskunta (the Finnish parliament) last March, the right-of-centre campaigned on increasing pay equality between men and women in public sector lower wage jobs. Ever since the election, the healthcare workers union has been hounding the now right-of-centre government to make good on their promises, even going so far as mentioning the possibility of a strike.
From the diaries ~ whataboutbob
But Member of the Eduskunta (ME) Arja Karhuvaara (of the conservative National Coalition Party) argues that raising salaries would cost the municipalities too much money, and wants to keep pay raises at a fairly low level. A boilerplate conservative argument and possibly a legitimate point (though a bit hard to swallow given the fact that the government also wants to decrease the inheritance tax), but then Karhuvaara makes some rather revealing comments:
Karhuvaara är irriterad över sjukskötarnas taktik inför löneförhandlingarna.
- De borde sluta klaga över hur hemskt de har det. Hur ska unga fås att söka sig till en bransch där alla bara klagar?
Karhuvaara is annoyed by the nurses' tactics before the salary negotiations.
- They should stop complaining about how horrible conditions are for them. How are we to get young people to join a sector wherein everyone just keeps complaining?
So there you have it! You shouldn't raise awareness of your working conditions, because that will only make things worse! It's not so much the fact that your working conditions are bad that are discouraging young people from becoming nurses, it's the fact that the youngsters are aware
of the bad conditions when they're considering their career options! God forbid they'd make informed
This particular strategy, that is to not raise awareness of your working conditions, lest someone were to find out about them, is also known as the "tree in the forest" strategy; if an employee is having a problem at work, but does not complain to his or her employer, does the problem actually exist? If you're an employer, the answer is of course "no". And you can't solve a problem that doesn't exist. Besides, if there was a problem, you'd think the employee would have let you known about it!
For our American friends, the concept is somewhat similar to what in the parlance of American political theory is known as "keeping one's powder dry, or else Karl Rove might say something bad about us".
Karhuvaara gets the opportunity to elaborate on and perhaps clarify her comment a bit, but instead she opts to dig that hole just a little bit deeper:
Sjukskötarna kan enligt Karhuvaara långt skylla sig själva över att yrket har låg status och att alltför få söker sig till branschen.
The nurses have, to a large extent, themselves to blame for the fact that the nursing profession is a low status job and that all too few become nurses, according to Karhuvaara.
And there's that conservative mindset rearing its ugly head again. You are where you are because you chose
to be there, and if things aren't to your liking, it's your own damn fault. Now shut up and get back to work!
For a minute there I thought my favourite politician, Newt Gingrich, who made similarly compassionate comments about the victims of Hurricane Katrina
, had been elected to the Eduskunta.
Interestingly enough, prior to being elected to the Eduskunta, Karhuvaara worked as a physical therapist, also a low-wage healthcare job, so you would think she would have some idea of the working conditions of Finnish nurses, and perhaps have an ounce of sympathy. Instead, she says:
Jag känner ingen fysioterapeut som skulle gå omkring och klaga över hur tungt det är. Och vi har sämre lön än sjukskötarna!
I don't know a single physical therapist who would go around and complain about how hard [his or her] job is. And we have lower wages than the nurses!
I suppose her comments may be rooted in a misguided view of the Finnish work ethos (that is, it's "dirty" and "rude" to complain) as opposed to in conservative ideology.
Then again, a 5540€ monthly salary as an ME
makes you see things a bit differently.