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Thursday's papers: Lower taxes, growing hate crime and postal workers in the gig economy

Residents want lower taxes, the EU says hate crime is growing in Finland and a cleaning firm provides mail workers for Posti.

Olbmot gáhta alde Helssegis.
Image: Jyrki Lyytikkä / Yle

Nearly 70 percent of Finns said they believe lowering taxes for low- and middle-income earners would be the best way for the government to reach its 75-percent employment goal, including getting 60,000 more people in jobs. That's according to a survey commissioned by national daily Helsingin Sanomat and carried out by pollster Kantar TNS.

Many also said they wanted to see the government expand wage subsidy programmes, making it the second most popular employment-boosting tool put forward by residents, with 56 percent in favor of the measure.

The third most popular suggestion, enjoying a 32 percent backing among respondents, was increasing the use of local agreements, meaning that decisions regarding working time, wages and benefits would move from trade unions to individual employers.

Finland doesn't have a nationally-appointed minimum wage. Instead, the country has practiced collective bargaining since the 1970s, whereby employers and trade unions regularly negotiate wage agreements on the national and industry-specific level.

Kantar TNS interviewed more than 1,000 adult mainland Finns for the poll last month.

Growing hate crime in Finland

The number of police personnel working to combat online hate crimes in the country has dropped from ten to two officers in the past few years, writes Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet, following up on a fresh report by the Council of Europe, which said racist and intolerant hate speech in public discourse and online has been escalating in Finland.

Hate speech is mainly targeting asylum-seekers, Muslims, persons of African descent, LGBT persons, Roma and the Jewish community, according to the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), a human rights body.

The report also pointed out that certain extremist organisations, particularly Neo-Nazi groups, engage in the systematic use of hate speech. The council's assessment found that there is a serious problem of underreporting such crimes in Finland.

The ECRI also called on Finland to review its law requiring transgender people to be sterilised before having their new gender legally recognised.

Postal work at 8.90 euros/ hour

This past spring cleaning services company SOL established a logistics arm to its business and has been providing mail sorters for national postal service Posti since last May, according to online business news site Taloussanomat.

A work agreement obtained by the publication showed SOL paying 8.90 euros an hour for tasks such as mail sorting. SOL's logistics business follows a different collective agreement than its personnel services unit - which also provided workers for Posti - but paid workers in excess of 11 euros an hour.

The postal workers' union (PAU) said that in some areas Posti was turning full-time work into gigs.

Posti has been at the centre of a media storm since it became widely known that its chief executive was pulling down an annual salary close to a million euros while postal workers earning around 2,000 euros per month were facing 30-50 percent pay cuts this autumn.

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