Union membership brings security to different situations in working life
COVID-19 had an immense impact on the work of Lee Edmonds as a restaurant chef. The uncertain situation caused by the corona pandemic made him join PAM.
I am Lee Edmonds, 35.
I live in Tuusula.
Joined PAM 12.10.2020.
I work as a restaurant chef. The last 18 months I have been working in Klaus K, which is a hotel with a separate restaurant. We share the main kitchen where all the prep work is done.
My work tasks include preparing lunch and dinner at Toscanini. The kitchen work is often quite hectic and breaks are rare. The best thing about being a chef is treating people with food.
The five past years I have lived in Finland. I came on a roadtrip to Finland in 2012, met a Finnish lady and ended up moving here in the summer of 2015. I started my culinary studies right after that, and I graduated as a restaurant cook in December 2018. During my studies and later on I worked as an a la carte chef. That was a busy time, so most of my language skills in Finnish is based around the kitchen. Basically, my conversational skills in Finnish suck.
The work culture in Finland is very international, which I love. I am very lucky to have English as my first language and I can communicate with everyone in my own language. In this line of work, you meet people from all over the world. The fact that you can do that in your work is great. And to be able to do something you actually like, is a big bonus. Besides, the Finnish work culture is very relaxed compared to what it was in the UK. I also appreciate that everybody knows each other at work and people are friendly.
COVID-19 affected me and my work. Due to the restrictions in March, Klaus K closed down. It was upsetting, but there was nothing anyone could do about it. March 23rd was our last day at work and the staff was laid off until June, after which the layoffs were extended until October. The layoff caused huge holes in my pockets, and had difficulties paying rent. Went through some really rough months.
I was lucky to get a seasonal job in a restaurant in Norway through a friend. The two-month-period I stayed in Norway paid well.
At my return in the beginning of September, we had resumed work and it felt busy again. Now, we have to deal with the new restrictions in the restaurant sector and the kitchen close half an hour earlier. Luckily, lunch hours and weekends are still ok.
I chose to join PAM as a union membership will provide me with security. Nobody knows how long the corona virus will be messing things up still. I used to be a student member of PAM. I did not upgrade the membership after graduating, as I did not feel the need to do it at that time. I had been a self-employed plumber for 11 years back in the UK. Obviously, when the coronavirus started and I was not able to pay things, and I realized how much the unemployment allowance was from PAM compared to what I got from Kela, it made me rethink. I only wish I would have thought of joining earlier.
In the future, I see myself working in the restaurant and catering business, as I really enjoy this line of work.
In my spare time, I like spending time with friends and family. I also cook a lot when I have time off.
In England, I was very active and had several hobbies. I was scuba diving, golfing and went to race tracks with my car.
Text:: Marie Sandberg-Chibani