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Thursday's papers: Cleaners' strike cancelled, corporate leaders in trouble with the law, and elderly workers

One in five individuals in senior positions at listed Finnish companies has been convicted of a crime.

Hotelli Scandic Julia Turussa 22. maaliskuuta.
Cleaners were back at work on Thursday after a last-minute agreement averted strike action. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
Yle News

All of the main Finnish newspapers carry short news items about the cancellation of the cleaners' strike which was scheduled to begin at midnight.

Shortly before the strike was to begin, employers and the PAM trade union announced they had reached a deal to avert industrial action.

"The negotiations were extremely difficult and this agreement has not been easy to accept," said PAM chair Annika Rönni-Sällinen in a press release reported by Turun Sanomat.

"I am satisfied, however, that we got pay rises for workers in the real estate sector in euros, and that raises pay for those on the lowest pay more in relative terms."

The agreement means the minimum full-time wage for cleaners will rise from 1,809 euros a month to 1,938 euros over the course of the two-year contract, a raise of some 7.1 percent.

From May salaries will rise by 95 euros, or 59 cents per hour. From August 2024 they rise by 1.8 percent.

Senior execs and the law

Iltalehti reports on a study by researchers at Oulu University that found some one in five corporate leaders at listed companies in Finland had been convicted of a crime.

Of the crimes uncovered, researchers found that 8.8 percent had incurred a prison sentence, with 91.2 percent punished by fines.

One of the researchers, Juha-Pekka Kallunki, said there may be a link between criminal behaviour off the job and irrational risk-taking when making decisions for the company.

"An ethical corporate culture and sustainable values in the business are difficult to realise, if a company's leadership does not support those goals through their own actions," said Kallunki.

"Because research shows that criminal backgrounds and impractical risk-taking are correlated, criminal backgrounds could have some significance from the perspective of an ethical company culture and sustainable development goals."

Idle elderly in Finland

Helsingin Sanomat ponders why during the election campaign politicians have argued about work-based immigration as a solution to a shrinking workforce, but few have raised the possibility of pensioners returning to work.

That is the "low-hanging fruit" of labour market policy, according to economist Lasse Corin of Aktia Bank.

He points to OECD statistics that show that in Japan, some 50 percent of 65-69-year-olds work. In Finland the figure is just 16 percent.

Even in the Nordic countries, Finland is a laggard. Icelandic 60-somethings are nearly as industrious as their Japanese counterparts, while around 30 percent of Norwegians in their late 60s do some work.

Corin says research shows older people in Finland would be keen to continue working, if given the opportunity. If the numbers in the labour force could be increased, that would boost the economy, especially as there is a labour shortage.

He suggests that the topic of tempting older workers back is sensitive for politicians, who are wary of resistance to increasing the retirement age and do not want to stray close to that subject.

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