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Friday's papers: Union pay bumps, restraining orders and Finnish EU feminism

Friday's papers look at trade union pay rises, help for domestic abuse victims and a celebration of Finland's female EU ambassadors.

Puheenjohtaja Riku Aalto.
Industrial Union leader Riku Aalto has been in the news this week. Image: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva

The Finnish Industrial Union has decided to bump up the pay of its senior staff by up to 60 percent following a merger, and the news has gone down like a lead balloon with almost everyone. Ilta-Sanomat has found disgruntled members who say they're leaving the union in protest at the 5,600 euro per month pay hike due to union chair Riku Aalto.

The news came just a week after the union agreed pay levels for the next two years across the whole sector. Rank and file members will see their pay jump by just 3.2 percent over two years.

"Pay restraint has been demanded in workplaces for years. It's one thing for the chair's pay to rise 3.2 percent, but a pay rise of more than 50 percent feels obscene," said Kari Purmonen, a shop steward at lift maker Kone.

Purmonen says that two members have resigned in his company, but he's aware of workplaces where 10-20 have resigned. Chair Aalto confirms to IS that resignations this week are running at around 50 more than in a usual week. He emphasises that he didn't ask for or know about the raise, as it was decided by the union's board.

Domestic abuse victims

IS also calls for better protection for victims of domestic violence, in the wake of Monday's killing of a three-year-old child in Porvoo and the subsequent arrest of her father on suspicion of murder. The parents had been involved in a bitter custody battle this year, with the mother seeking a restraining order against the father.

It's a difficult issue, says IS in an editorial, as a restraining order alone will not stop a determined abuser. In any case, the paper argues, the authorities should look at whether the penalties for breaching such an order are harsh enough.

Legal processes should be smoother and quicker, and communication between different official bodies should be much smoother, according to IS.

Finnish female ambassadors lauded

Finnish media has jumped on a Politico ranking of influential women in Brussels that had Finland's female-dominated mission in the EU's capital in seventh position. The three senior ambassadors to the EU are all women, as are their advisors, and the country's spokesperson.

Helsingin Sanomat's headline is 'Finland collects feminist points in Brussels', over an article that outlines Finland's approach to gender equality in diplomacy. Some 58 percent of Finland's diplomats are women, as are 46 percent of the country's ambassadors.

Women started to make an impact at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs back in the 1980s, when Permanent Representative Marja Rislakki trained for her career as a diplomat. In her class there were 25 women and seven men, which caused some worry for older, male diplomats worried about the new recruits taking maternity leave.

The young recruits called their 'yearbook' "The mothers-to-be of the Foreign Ministry, and seven men", and the fears of previous generations have indeed proven to be groundless.

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