The management of a cleaning firm operating in the Helsinki region is suspected of exploiting as many as 30 foreign workers. The company is believed to have paid Sri Lankan workers less than the minimum wage, among other offences. The employees worked at bus depots, often in the evening or overnight without the extra pay required for such hours.
Some employees were required to pay thousands of euros to obtain a position with the company.
Its CEO and two upper-level employees face charges including aggravated extortion.
Authorities uncovered the irregularities while investigating suspected arrangement of illegal immigration.
The firm’s CEO was already handed a suspended sentence in early July for using an undocumented foreign worker and for worker discrimination. That case only involved one employee, though.
Prosecutors estimate that the illegal practices brought the company a financial benefit of more than 70,000 euros.
2 Sri Lankans also held
The executives are suspected of taking advantage of their Sri Lankan, Moroccan and Indian workers’ lack of linguistic skills, financial dire straits, dependent position and lack of knowledge of Finnish occupational laws and workers’ rights.
The CEO is also suspected of worker discrimination for firing an employee during sick leave.
Two Sri Lankan men also face charges of arranging illegal immigration. They were believed to be part of a criminal organisation that brought Sri Lankans into Finland using forged documents. The men are in custody.
The defendants have denied most of the charges.
The case will be taken up by Vantaa District Court two weeks from now. A month has been reserved for handling the various aspects of the complex case.
Latest in: News
Siegfrids hopes for Eurovision success
The Danish pre-contest favourite believes that this could be Scandinavia’s year, while Finnish contestant Krista Siegfrids promises to celebrate whether she wins or not.
Lions’ golden dream dies in Stockholm
Finland’s mens ice hockey team lost 3-0 in their World Championship semi final against Sweden on Saturday in Stockholm. The Lions will play in the bronze medal match on Sunday.
Summery, thundery conditions continue over the weekend
Summer has finally arrived in Finland, with warmer than average temperatures and some lively bursts of thunder expected. That means the south and east of Finland are set for warm weather—and rain—this weekend.
SDP chair rejects calls to appoint new Foreign Minister
Social Democratic Party chair and Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen has rejected calls to appoint a new Foreign Minister, saying that incumbent Erkki Tuomioja is “the right man” for the job. The demands followed Urpilainen’s decision Friday to shake up the party's cabinet lineup.
Restaurant Day celebrates Finland’s growing culinary diversity
A group of hard-boiled food enthusiasts has cooked up the ninth Restaurant Day, which takes place Saturday. The idea has been to feed a grass roots movement celebrating food, fellowship and community. Today’s festival of culinary delights involves more than 1,500 so-called pop-up restaurants in Finland and beyond.
Bus drivers’ strike continues through the weekend
Bus drivers who shut down their engines and walked off the job at a Vantaa bus depot last Tuesday will continue their work stoppage through the weekend. The drivers are protesting plans to introduce a new shift system, which they say provides inadequate rest periods. Employer and employee representatives have had no success resolving the impasse.
"Russian Google” Yandex sets up in Mäntsälä
One of the world’s largest search engine providers has announced plans to fast track construction of a server centre in Mäntsälä, in southern Finland. Yandex, also known as the “Russian Google” says Finland is an ideal location for a server hub, partly due to competitive energy prices.
Finnish cabinet now running on woman power
The SDP cabinet reshuffle announced Friday has transformed the makeup of Finland’s cabinet, tipping the balance in favour of women. The government’s ministerial lineup now features ten women and nine men. Finland was previously led by a majority female government during Matti Vanhanen’s second term and by his successor Mari Kiviniemi.
Finland’s ”gay” Eurovision entry leaves Georgians cold
Thousands of supporters gathered in the Georgian capital Tblisi for a major gay rights demonstration in support of the Eurovision song contest and in honour of this year’s International Day against Homophobia. The backdrop to the demonstration has been outrage caused in the traditionally conservative country by a girl-on-girl kiss in the climax of the performance of Finnish Eurovision competitor Krista Siegfrids.
SDP Chair Urpilainen: Cabinet changes to continue
SDP chair and Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen thanked her party’s ministers for their efforts following the announcement of a re-assignment of portfolios Friday. The new ministers are to be confirmed in their posts by the President next week. Urpilainen said that other changes are in the offing for the party's ministerial group.