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Monday’s papers: Strawberry fields, one-euro face masks and the mental load

The reality of farm work is capturing Finland's attention.

Ukrainalaisia kausityöntekijöitä valmistelemassa mansikoita myyntiin Suonenjoella Veikko Raivion tilalla 5. heinäkuuta 2013.
A Ukrainian worker preparing strawberries for sale on a Finnish farm. Image: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

Why don’t Finns make up for the foreign seasonal labour shortfall caused by coronavirus? A Helsingin Sanomat reporter took up work on one of Finland’s largest strawberry farms in Halikko, north of Salo in southwestern Finland, to find out.

Working alongside seasonal workers from Ukraine, Vietnam and Afghanistan, the reporter found that while spring is theoretically well on its way in May, conditions can be tundra-like.

HS reported that workers at the southwestern farm covered strawberry plants with fleece until 1am one night to protect against frost.

At an hourly rate of 8.71 euros, the farm's seasonal helpers take home around 1,000 euros per month after accounting for travel, permits, taxes and lodging.

Mass masks

"People’s masks," simple nose-and-mouth coverings, are set to arrive on store shelves next week, reports newsstand tabloid Ilta-Sanomat. The S and K grocery giants said they will stock the basic fibre cloth masks that will cost about a euro apiece.

K-Group chief executive Mikko Helander told IS its domestic subsidiary could deliver 1.2 million face masks in June.

Ville Vahla, a selection manager at S-Group, meanwhile said demand for face masks could still explode.

"Demand will jump to a totally different level if the authorities recommend using masks on public transport," he explained.

Outsourcing your to-do list

A story about private daycare that promises to ease the load of overburdened parents has people flocking to a story on business magazine Talouselämä’s site.

At one Helsinki daycare, staff can organise birthday parties, shop or mend clothes, as well as schedule haircuts and flu shots.

For a price, the company said it will chip away at some of the hands-on chores and mental loads families with young children often struggle to manage.

Initial results from a recent Jyväskylä University study suggested that parental exhaustion had increased during the coronavirus crisis.

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