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05.06.2024 13:50

Diversity in workplaces is an asset

We all have a responsibility for doing our share so that employees with a foreign background can feel welcome. Supervisors and managers play a particularly important role in workplaces.

PAMs Piia Pulkkinen says that he division between ‘us native Finns’ and ‘those with a foreign background’ should not be strengthened in any way

In recent days, recruitment in the restaurant industry has created a lot of commotion in the social media. A famous Finnish chef Kape Aihinen talked about his recruitment processes in a podcast, and his comments have been seen as racist and discriminatory.

Training planner Piia Pulkkinen coordinates and develops services for immigrant workers at PAM. She says that the restaurant industry is international by nature.
− All employees in the industry, both native Finns and employees with a foreign background, are important for the development and future of the entire industry.
− The division between ‘us native Finns’ and ‘those with a foreign background’ should not be strengthened in any way. Instead, attention should be paid to diversity in workplaces and see that as an asset. This applies to both individual restaurants and the industry as a whole. Of course, managing multicultural work communities requires an understanding of multiculturalism, especially from supervisors and managers.”

According to several studies, there is a shortage of skilled workers in many fields in Finland and a need for new innovations. We compete for workers with other European countries, and we really cannot afford to create an image of ourselves as an unfriendly country. We all have a responsibility to ensure that employees with a foreign background feel welcome.

Have you experienced discrimination?

The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, origin, nationality, language, religion, belief, opinion, political activity, trade union activity, family relationships, health status, disability, sexual orientation or any other reason related to the person.

If you suspect that you have been discriminated against, you must report to your employer what the suspicion of discrimination is based on. After this, the employer must proof that there has been no breach of the prohibition of discrimination. If the employer does not give any justification or the justifications do not seem correct, contact the union representative at your workplace or PAM.

PAM has been the first major trade union to accept migrant members right from its foundation in 2001. PAM has around 12,500 service industry employees with a foreign background, which corresponds to 6.2 percent of the entire membership. The number has increased approximately tenfold since 2003, when there were approximately 1,300 migrant members.