No to alcopops! – PAM’s Katri Jakosuo sums up the pros and cons of the reform of the Alcohol Act
The revision of the Alcohol Act divides opinions. The union’s industrial policy expert Katri Jakosuo stresses that the revision should not undermine the occupational safety of shop sales assistants. Moving alcohol consumption from the home to restaurants is welcome.
The alcohol debate polarises opinions. At one extreme there are those who want to severely limit consumption, and at the other proponents of freedom of choice. Whereabouts is PAM situated on this scale?
“Pretty much in the middle. PAM’s view is that the government’s proposal is balanced overall. However, we are concerned about how the changes will affect employment, safety and public health – especially young people’s alcohol consumption.”
What’s best about the changes to the law if they go through as they are? What is the main concern?
“The best part is the overhaul of regulations in the hospitality sector, improvements in security and the objective to shift alcohol consumption to bars and restaurants. From the employment point of view it would be important that an increasing share of alcohol consumption takes place in bars and restaurants.
The greatest concern is if grocery stores start selling stronger gin long drinks and alcopops. In other countries alcopops have increased alcohol consumption among young people. We also insist that the occupational safety of shop sales assistants is not impaired.”
PAM represents workers in many different sectors, with partly conflicting interests in alcohol legislation. How can the union find a balance here?
“PAM has collected the views of members working in different sectors. Securing jobs is the number one priority for us. For example, Alko stores have relatively more employees than large grocery stores.”
The biggest changes apply to the hospitality sector: for example, opening times would be liberalised and selling double measures would be allowed. Will restaurant work become more demanding than before?
“Yes, definitely. But that mustn’t mean that the safety of workers and customers is put at risk. Both security and regulatory oversight need to be increased and improved. From the sector’s point of view it is important that customers get good service and feel safe.”
Text by: Solja Virkkunen
Article item first published in Finnish on 29 August 2017.