Skip to content
The article is more than 7 years old

Friday’s papers: Slippery streets, Finns Party bleeds, a fruitful job search and the right to die

Friday's papers in Finland focus on black ice in the south, dropping party numbers in the populist Finns Party, an assessment of the jobs available and a citizens' initiative to allow physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill.

jäinen auton tuulilasi
Image: Matti Kauvo / Yle

Front page news in the southern papers Friday morning is slippery, black ice conditions on the region’s roads. 12 accidents were reported through the night. Rescue services and police urge motorists to observe a safe distance from the cars around them while driving and to slow down appropriately to avoid further accidents.

Tabloid Iltalehti reports that at least 19 local politicians have left the populist Finns Party since the parliamentary elections last spring. Many have turned in their party membership card in the last few months, as the party’s support in the polls has gone into freefall. National broadcaster Yle’s latest poll, released Thursday, shows Finns Party support has hit a new low: 8.9 percent.

Kouvola city councillor Pekka Korpivaara submitted his resignation to the Finns Party in early November. He says his departure was inevitable, as there is a glaring lack of democratic principles in the party he once adhered to. He says leaders like Matti Putkonen, Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo and chair Timo Soini promote nepotism in the party.

Helsinki city councillor Réne Hursti left the Finns Party in September in protest of what he sees as the party’s disinterest in social equality. “They are acquiescing to terrible funding cuts. It seems the only thing that is important to them is closing the borders,” he says. Hursti was also disgusted by offensive remarks several Finns Party representatives have made. He cites former reserve councillor Olli Sademies’ comments about the forced sterilisation of African men.  

Tero Kokko resigned from his position in the Kuusamo chapter of the Finns Party one week ago. He says there has been a “total breakdown” in the party’s values. “I understand that we are only one party in a coalition government, but do we have to go back on every single thing that we promised to the people?”

Nice work if you can get it?

An article from the leading daily Helsingin Sanomat featured a reporter going “undercover” to apply for work. The idea was to establish what kind of work is on offer in Finland at present and how hard it is to get. Four employment offices were contacted and each supplied a list of positions that had been open at least three months: 365 jobs in all. The reporter called or sent an email to ask more about the work, and after the potential employer followed up and they discussed the opportunity thoroughly, the journalist revealed the true purpose of the inquiry.

The takeaway? There is definitely work out there to be had. After just three hours of active calling, the reporter had already secured an interview and a preliminary agreement about six different positions. Jobs immediately available involved work as a taxi driver, a cleaner, and selling ink cartridges for printers.

As a rule, the paper found that jobs that don’t fill quickly can be divided into four categories. The first class of vacancies require specific training, like nurses or cooks. The paper’s experiment found that there were plenty of opportunities available for cooks, and quite a few jobs for nurses and caregivers.

The second category requires setting up a small business to sell a certain product, while the third entails selling products for a commission. Some 55 percent of the job opportunities in the capital city Uusimaa region fell into these two categories, an unattractive option for many, in that it is impossible to estimate potential earnings.

The fourth category includes poorly-paid jobs, often part-time or temp positions. Several firms are looking for cleaners willing to work for approximately 10 euros an hour. There are also full-time cleaning positions available in home cleaning firms, for example. Cleaners working part-time can expect to earn less than 1000 euros a month, while a full-time salary runs at around 1,600 euros. This is less than half the average wage in Finland today. 

Elina Montán has been unemployed for two years. She says positions that remain unfilled don’t offer enough salary to get by on. At the moment, Montán receives the basic unemployment allowance: about 530 euros a month after taxes. She says she would gladly start work that paid at least 1,200 euros a month, if only she could find it.

End of life relief

And the Tampere-based newspaper Aamulehti reports that a citizens' initiative to ask the Finnish Parliament to consider enacting a law to allow physician-assisted suicide in Finland was introduced on Thursday, already gathering more than 200 signatories on its first day. Over 50,000 signatures are needed within the next six months for the initiative to gain entry to the parliamentary floor for consideration. Kari Viholainen from the northwest city of Oulu is listed as the initiator of the proposal.

The citizens' initiative calls for legislation that would make it possible for physician-assisted suicide at the end of life for terminally ill persons for whom medical treatments have been exhausted and a cure is beyond reach. The intent is to avoid physical and emotional suffering. The procedure would always be at the request and with the consent of the patient.

Physician-assisted death can only be administered by a physician, who is obliged to stay with the patient until they have passed away. Before going through with the procedure, both the doctor and the patient must share a common understanding that no treatments for the illness are available that would sufficiently relieve their pain.

Assisted suicide is not a crime in Finland at present, but there are no clinics where the procedure is arranged. The Greens Party expressed their support for euthanasia in their party platform in 2012, and the Social Democrats and Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö have also backed the proposal in the past.

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia