News |

Thai Berry Pickers Face Bleak Working Conditions in Finland

Each summer, thousands of berry pickers from Thailand arrive in Finland with the hopes of earning a bundle of cash. Although Finnish berry companies depend heavily on the workers, their wages and conditions are substandard.

Marjoja pakasterasioissa
Image: Matti Konttinen / Yle

Around 2,000 berry pickers from Thailand made their way into Finnish forests this summer. The migrant workers carry out backbreaking labor around the clock.



For example, Junya Yimprasert, a representative from the Migrant Workers’ Union Thailand, says workers pick cloudberries for 18 to 22 hours a day during the high season in July.



“The cloudberry price is the highest price. If they make the best out of that, they can maybe cover the cost of coming here.”



However, some berry pickers go home with nothing but debt from the expensive journey to Finland. A report published this week finds that the average hourly wage for berry pickers is just a couple of euros. Working conditions are also far from ideal.





”The first 48 days you're working just to cover the costs. And you only have 20 days, with no lingonberries left, to make a profit. They will usually go home with 1,000 euros. And the best maybe go home with 2,000 to 3,000 euros,” says Junya Yimprasert.



Anu-Tuija Lehto, a lawyer from the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), says the situation brings forced labour and human trafficking to mind.



Finnish companies buying the berries have the power to dictate wages and conditions. Although the Thai workers are considered entrepreneurs, all they do is pick berries from morning to night.







Discuss this topic 0 comments

Write a comment

Use a nickname. We don't publish comments using real names.

Stick to the topic. Only comments relevant to the subject will be published.

Reply this question. We want to make sure this comment is not generated automatically.

Your comment will be read by an editor before publication. We want to offer the opportunity for a well-reasoned, quality discussion including a variety of views. For more specific rules of the game, click here.

Latest in: News

Headlines

News

Inflation in Finland - which prices are up and which are down?

Consumer prices in Finland rose 1.2 percent from August 2013 to August 2014. Inflation was very moderate, even though Finland has one of the fastest inflation rates in Europe. Taxes were behind the most dramatic price rises in the last year, but other prices stayed low due to consumer caution, low interest rates and falling commodity prices. See the graph below to gain an understanding of the various inflation rates in the last recorded year.

Our picks

Latest

Muualla Yle.fi:ssä