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Managers accused of exploiting foreign cleaners

Executives of a custodial firm in Helsinki face charges including aggravated extortion.

Mies menossa bussiin
Image: Yle

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.

Sources: Yle

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