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All Points North #27: Ville-Veikko Pulkka on the erosion of workers' rights in the app-driven economy

This week APN asks whether workers' rights are under siege as firms try to maximise profits while the government looks for new ways to boost competitiveness.

Audio: All Points North Podcast
Audio
Audio: Yle News

Yle News' All Points North asks special guest Ville-Veikko Pulkka, a Helsinki University researcher specialising in labour policy in the digital age, whether the platform economy is lathering up a slippery wage slope for low-paid service workers in Finland despite the country's strong union tradition. The current centre-right government is forging ahead with legislation that will make it easier for small firms to fire workers while zero-hour contracts, which jeopardise workers' benefits, are becoming more prevalent.

This week's APN takes a closer look at the erosion of workers' rights through the lens of non-unionised food couriers in Finland working for meal delivery titan Foodora. Its German-based parent company Delivery Hero anticipates at least 760 million euros in revenue this year.

Foodora made headlines in Finland last summer over what workers called a unilateral decision to slash pay after the company cut the hourly weekday wage from 11 to 9 euros an hour. The hot-pink cyclists were given just two weeks to sign up to the new rules, or they could hit the road.

Our most popular news stories this week included a report on how the government benefits agency Kela has cut basic income support payments by up to 200 euros for 11,000 recipients this year. Kela has the right to reduce basic welfare grants by up to 40 percent if the recipient refuses to accept work or enroll in training or education.

A story we carried on religion -- or the decline of it -- also heated up audience discussion. One in four people in Finland do not belong to any registered religious community, and according to Statistics Finland, 30 percent of men in the country are unaffiliated with any religion, compared with 23 percent of women.

And echoing our podcast theme this week, readers were also interested in a story about how a one-day strike by labour unions this week would affect services they use, like public transportation and hospitals. Thousands of Finnish industrial workers joined service, food, and power sector employees in a 24-hour strike Wednesday to protest a government bill that would make it easier for small firms to fire employees.

If you have any questions or would like to share something on your mind just contact us via WhatsApp on +358 44 421 0909, on our Facebook page or Twitter account, or at yle.news@yle.fi.

The All Points North podcast is a weekly look at what's going on in Finland. Subscribe via iTunes (and leave a review!), listen on Spotify and Yle Areena or find it on your favourite podcatching app or via our RSS feed.

This week's show was presented by Denise Wall and Mark B. Odom with guest Ville-Veikko Pulkka. The show's producer and reporter was Zena Iovino, and this week's sound technician was Juha Jäntti.

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