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Monday’s papers: Posti pay dispute, what rich people really think, and a northern lights show

The press on Monday looks at executive pay in state-owned companies as posties see their pay cut.  

Posti Groupin toimitusjohtaja Heikki Malinen pakettiautomaatin vieressä Posti Groupin pääkonttorissa Helsingissä.
Posti boss Heikki Malinen. Image: Jani Saikko / Yle

Heikki Malinen, CEO of postal firm Posti, is under the spotlight on Monday. Or more precisely his bulging, 82,000 euro-a-month pay packet is under scrutiny.

To recap: last week Posti announced they would transfer 700 workers to a different sectoral collective agreement, a move that would entail a pay cut of between 20-25 percent (according to the company) and 30-50 percent (according to postal union PAU).

That prompted strike action which continues into this week, disrupting deliveries across the country. And of course, Malinen’s bountiful compensation was picked up on by critics, including in Helsingin Sanomat on Monday.

HS reports that Malinen’s pay has increased 48 percent since 2016, when he received 668,902 euros. In 2018 that had risen to 987,764 euros. The total Posti, a state-owned firm, puts towards payment of senior executives has risen by 65 percent since 2016.

The paper rounds off with a selection of politicians who have criticised the move, including Christian Democrat leader Sari Essayah, who demanded action from the government to prevent overly-generous pay deals.

Prime Minister Antti Rinne commented on the strike on Sunday while opening a library in Valkeakoski, and Aamulehti rounds up his comments. He said exactly what you’d expect of a former union leader: it’s not fair that there are two collective agreements for the company to choose from, and the CEO’s pay was unacceptable.

Iltalehti reports on the companies efforts to entice striking workers to cross the picket line. They are offering employees a five euro an hour bonus, and managers a 200 euro bonus for turning up to work during the strike. The strike is set to last until midnight on Thursday.

Iltalehti also broadens out the story to look at the pay of managers at several state-owned companies. Finnair, VR, Gasum, Patria and Finavia all have bosses earning above half a million euros, while Fortum’s CEO Pekka Lundmark makes some 1.27 million euros including bonuses.

As parliament gets back to work this week, it looks like this is one story that could rumble on.

A penny for your thoughts?

Ilta-Sanomat carries a report on research from Helsinki University that looked at how rich people view society. They selected 90 interviewees by looking at tax data over a ten year period, and asked them how they feel about their fellow citizens and politics in general.

One whose wealth came via inheritance reckons unemployment is ‘down to attitude’.

“It can’t be that one part of society provides for another part which doesn’t do anything,” said the inheritor.

Another whose wealth came from one of Finland’s ‘old families’ became especially annoyed when talking about politics.

“What do they all do there?” asked the respondent, whose wealth also came via inheritance. “I’m annoyed at their salaries and compensation and systems and they sit there and don’t get anything done in time or don’t take responsibility.”

Professor Anu Kantola, who conducted the research, said that she was concerned at the disconnect between many rich individuals’ views of their own achievements, about which they were positive, and wider society, about which they were pretty negative.

“When the gaze shifted to a slightly wider view, the lens often darkened quite a bit,” said Kantola. “Do we have an elite that views society in such a dark way?”

Northern show

Over the weekend aurora borealis put in a spectacular appearance over Finland, with much of the country getting a chance to see the northern light show.

Usually the fireworks are restricted to Lapland and the far north, but over the weekend skywatchers much further south were rewarded for their patience.

As of Monday morning the two tabloids both had pictures of the spectacle, with Ilta-Sanomat just edging it in our opinion. Iltalehti’s effort isn’t bad though.

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