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Minister likens underpaid foreigners to slaves

Minister of Labour Lauri Ihalainen has called for fair play in the labour market.

Työministeri Lauri Ihalainen.
Minister of Labour Lauri Ihalainen. Image: Yle

Ihalainen is concerned about an increase in so-called zero contracts of employment, where the number of weekly working hours are specified as anything between zero and 40.

“It’s problematic if these zero contracts undermine employment security or other workers’ rights. Nor can these kinds of contracts of employment be allowed to result in the worker losing unemployment benefits,” Ihalainen notes.

The Minister also draws attention to underpaid cleaners with foreign backgrounds.

“This is a form of modern slavery that cannot be accepted in any circumstances. Underpaying foreign workers is part of the grey economy, which needs to be combated by all means possible. The shadow economy is a cause of concern both for the state and labour market organizations. While Finland needs work-related immigration, we cannot tolerate anything that makes immigrants second-class citizens,” Ihalainen said.

Labour unions are currently investigating the phenomenon of zero contracts. Their report is due out this spring.

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