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Reports reveal Turku shipyard's two-tier labour market

Turku shipyard, which is owned by the German firm Meyer, has a two-tier labour market, according to reports from regional authorities seen by Yle. According to the reports some foreign workers are paid lower salaries, and not adequately compensated for overtime.

Esko Aho vieraili Turun Meyerin telakalla.
Meyer shipyard in Turku has a two-tier labour market, according to reports. Image: Mika Puska

Foreign workers employed by subcontractors at Turku's shipyard are paid less than legally mandated minimums, according to documents seen by Yle.

The reports detail how some subcontractors at Meyer's Turku yard are paid less than the minimum wages outlined in collective agreements, their hours are not properly recorded, and there are shortcomings in arrangements for occupational health care, overtime payments and time off in lieu of overtime.

Yle asked the local Regional State Administration Agency for reports on Meyer subcontractors written by the agency's occupational safety unit. Altogether Yle received reports on 12 subcontractors written between March 2016 and January 2017.

Underpaid workers

The reports mention Lithuanian firm Uab Sande several times, and according to the reports the company has not worked to correct problems despite several warnings, the first in July 2016.

"Workplace discrimination has not ended, in fact the employer still pays posted workers (a technical term for workers posted to a new country for work) smaller wages and per diems than are mandated in the sector's collective agreement," reads one passage from January 2017. "The employer has not compensated workers for overtime."

Yle asked Meyer if Uab Sande is still a contractor at the Turku shipyard, but did not receive an answer.

Metalworkers' union boss Riku Aalto told Yle's A-Studio programme that the issue had been raised with Meyer management.

Buyer responsibility

"We have also told management at the yard, that they should make sure rules are being followed," said Aalto. "But unfortunately we have not had a response."

Minister for the Economy Mika Lintilä wondered at the company's alleged inaction.

"I do wonder a little, when we have the law on buyer responsibility," said Lintilä. "Someone's taking big risks if he does this, because he should remember that the buyer has responsibility (for sub-contractors following employment law)."

Meyer communications manager Tapani Mylly told A-Studio that Meyer had intervened when problems had been revealed.

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