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31.08.2023 13:09

Trade unions against racism: Our Finland is open

Trade unions PAM, JHL, Pro, Industrial Union and OAJ defend indivisible human dignity and express their serious concern on the Government Programme’s tightenings that apply to labour immigration. The tightenings make it more difficult to get skilled individuals to Finland. They also put employees in an unequal position based on nationality and background. These entries…

The unions remind that our country’s demographic problems require getting many kinds of skilled individuals and employees to Finland, and we can’t afford to divide people into us and them

– Finnish trade unions are a part of an international human rights movement that defends those who are weaker and eliminates discriminating structures in working life. We must not give one inch of room to racist speech or discrimination in the Finnish society, the union managers state. 

Orpo’s Government Programme contains several tightenings of immigration which make labour immigration and recruitment of international skilled individuals to Finland more difficult. In particular, the demand to remove a person from the country after three months from the end of their employment relationship, combined with the weakening of dismissal protection, is unreasonable. Many workplaces in Finland are already multicultural, and their working language is mainly English. The six years of residence and proven sufficient language skills, required for a permanent residence permit, make future recruitment efforts more challenging. 

The tightenings decrease Finland’s competitiveness and stifle education-based and labour-based immigration which the country desperately needs. Finland has a shortage of skilled individuals at all levels of society, from worker occupations to special advisors. This issue has also been raised by business representatives and major companies. After the crisis period, this country is again in need of unity and the stability to build and grow through education, competence and innovations. Many innovations will not be born without workplace plurality.  

Separating social security for immigrants and permanent residents is an alarming example of policy decisions that divide human dignity. 

– Finland’s strengths lie within the values of our agreement society. A conversational culture that respects others keeps society unified and stable. Human rights are for everyone, and basic rights apply to all people, including those who have moved in the country, the union managers remind. 

The Finnish society is structured as a strong welfare society, the basis of which is encountering people as people. The strength of society is measured in how well it looks after everyone. Finland can do better. 

President of Service Union United PAM Annika Rönni-Sällinen
President of Industrial Union Riku Aalto
President of Trade Union Pro Jorma Malinen
President of the Trade Union of Education in Finland OAJ Katarina Murto
President of the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL Päivi Niemi-Laine