News |

Friday's papers: Call to limit labour strikes, views on violent crime, Finland's first skyscraper

Finland's press discuss a business lobby's bid to curtail industrial action, perceptions about violent crime, social worker realities, and a 180-metre building.

Trigoni, YIT:n ehdotus Helsinki High-rise -kilpailuun. Talvinäkymä Veturipuistosta Länsialueelle.
An illustration of the winning Trigoni design. Image: YIT yhteistyössä Arkkitehtitoimisto Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Oy:n kanssa.

Verkkouutiset, an online publication affiliated with Finland's conservative National Coalition Party, reports on Friday about a call to rein in industrial action by the CEO of Finland's largest private sector business organisation, The Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK). In the aftermath of large-scale labour strikes that hampered many sectors on Wednesday, lobby head Jyri Häkämies has proposed that legislation be changed to limit the scope of political strikes in the future.

"Employers should be able to trust that signed contracts are honoured, and strikes will not occur as long as collective agreements are in force. Because wage-earner organisations have used political industrial action as a weapon in recent years, the right to engage in political strikes should be curtailed," the EK CEO declared in a press release.

Häkämies said that laws in Finland should be amended to limit industrial action to short intervals that are "in proportion to the seriousness of the matter". He also proposed that the legal reform restrict strike action to outside working hours.

Violent crimes down, but 70% believe otherwise

The Lahti-based newspaper Etelä-Suomen Sanomat (ESS) carries a report on a new study from two universities in Finland that found that 70 percent of respondents to a survey believe that violence is on the rise in Finland, even though statistics show clearly that incidents of crime are falling.

The vast majority of respondents said they trusted traditional news outlets in Finland to provide an accurate picture of the current situation in terms of violent crime, but one-third indicated that some media companies "protected groups that practiced violence". One-fifth said that big media houses in Finland downplayed violent crimes in their reporting.

Two-thirds of the 2017 study's 6,000-plus participants said they got their news from the television or radio, with one-fifth indicating that they received their information on violent crime in Finland from social media.

Many immigrants reject child welfare services

The country largest circulation daily Helsingin Sanomat features an article on child welfare workers, who discuss their concerns that families with a foreign background are having a hard time taking advantage of their support services.

"There are more risk factors that delay assistance with foreigners. There is shame, for example, and a general lack of knowledge about our services and the different kinds of support we provide," Cindy Gunell, a social worker for the metropolitan city of Espoo, told the paper.

Misunderstandings and fear keep many families in need of help from contacting the authorities.

"Our on-call staff received notice of an Estonian family once. The mother cried to us on the phone, asking if we were coming to take her child away," says social worker Merike Mikk. "A lot of people are surprised that placement outside the home isn't our first solution, that we offer other lighter services, too. That we really try and help the children and their parents."

In many different cultures, it is a matter of family honour to handle difficult situations on their own. In some families, children as young as five years old are charged with looking after their younger siblings. The social workers interviewed in the piece say that often children in immigrant families learn the language much faster than their parents, and so a role-reversal takes place. The children assume a stronger position in the family because they have to take care of the family's paperwork and handle interactions with authorities.

"We have to respect other cultures in this line of work, but our client – the child – is always at the centre of everything we do. We have to be able to help and support the child and help the network surrounding the child see things from the child's perspective," social worker Elina Apponen told the paper.

Pasila may soon have a 180-metre building

And finally, the tabloid Iltalehti looks into plans to build what would be Finland's first skyscraper in the Helsinki district of Pasila. Officially, the height of a building should exceed 150 metres to be considered a skyscraper, and now a building is in the works that is likely to finally break this barrier. The city of Helsinki released the architecture competition winners of the first building phase of the Pasila Tower Area on Thursday, with the winning proposal from developer YIT Construction and Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects. The design features nine tower buildings to be built on the south side of the Pasila bridge.

Two of these would be truly high-rise towers, as the first would be 180 metres high, and the other 140. The taller of the two triangular "prism towers" would have 51 floors, and contain retail shops, parking, a hotel and housing. The top two floors would contain a restaurant with panoramic views. The second building would have 40 floors and contain office space and more housing.

The second phase of the project will come to a close yet this autumn, with construction slated to begin in 2020-2021. When completed, the development will connect the eastern and western parts of the Pasila district, expected to become "the heart of New Helsinki" as it will contain Finland’s busiest train station after the extensive renovation.

The 180-metre building will easily be Finland's tallest once it is completed. Even Tampere's Näsineula observation tower landmark pales by comparison at 134.5 metres in height – or 168 metres, if you count the antenna, too, IL writes.

Latest in: News


Our picks