APN podcast: Do Finland's voters care about healthcare?

This week APN looks ahead to Finland's county council election and hears some shocking revelations about working conditions in the food service industry.

Photo of election official handing a voter a blank ballot, featuring the All Points North podcast logo. Image: Juho Liukkonen / Yle

The first All Points North episode of 2022 sets its sights on Finland's historic, first-ever county council elections.

However, despite the electoral landmark and the seismic changes it may mean for the provision of social, healthcare and emergency services in Finland, pollsters are predicting a low voter turnout.

APN's roving reporter Melanie Hall took to the streets of Tampere to find out why this election seems to have failed to capture the imagination of voters.

"Sometimes I don't vote because any time you need to vote somebody into power you have a reason, so when I just cast my vote for someone I don't know, what's my reason," one Tampere resident said.

Despite the apparent voter apathy, Liina-Kaisa Tynkkynen, an assistant professor in social and healthcare policy at Tampere University, told APN that the issues at stake in this election are incredibly important.

"I think this is about values and priorities and what kinds of things we want to do with our system, and I think everybody has a valuable contribution to make to that debate," Tynkkynen said.

You can listen to the full podcast using the embedded player here, via Yle Areena, Spotify (siirryt toiseen palveluun), Apple Podcasts (siirryt toiseen palveluun) or on your usual podcast player using the RSS feed.

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"They don't know their rights"

This week's episode also explored the latest revelation about working conditions and poor hygiene standards in Finland's food services sector.

Yle's investigative journalism unit MOT reported the experiences of workers at a central kitchen in Helsinki that provided food for the Espresso House chain of coffeehouses around the capital region.

The majority of staff at the facility were of immigrant background, and the Espresso House case is just the latest example of the exploitation of foreign workers and young people in the sector.

According to Raimo Hoikkala, an advisor on the restaurant and catering industry with the service sector union PAM, these demographics are particularly vulnerable to lax working practices.

"We have difficulties reaching them [immigrant workers and young people], to get information to them about what their rights are," Hoikkala said. "They don't know about their rights and they don't know where to find the information."

Help APN's New Year's resolution: Join the conversation!

This week's show was presented by Ronan Browne and Zena Iovino with additional reporting by Melanie Hall. It was produced by Mark B. Odom and the audio engineer was Laura Koso.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, contact us via WhatsApp on +358 44 421 0909, on our Facebook or Twitter accounts, or at yle.news@yle.fi and allpointsnorth@yle.fi.

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