Friday’s newspapers: International workers ‘struggles, tire price hike and ban on overtime by nurses’ unions

The integration of foreigners into the Finnish workforce has been an embarrassing problem for years. Unnecessary language requirements are often a problem, and some job seekers say they have been discriminated against.

On Friday Helsingin Sanomat tells about this On the efforts of the municipality of Espoo to map and process the access of people with a foreign background to Finnish working life.

According to a recent municipal council survey, it was difficult for highly educated international workers to find employment in Finland.

Respondents said they believed their job search was hampered by the fact that they were foreigners. This was also the case for work that did not require proficiency in the Finnish language, the study suggested.

The study, conducted in collaboration with Universum Finland, a Finnish company focusing on employer development, was conducted in December-January 2022 and involved 466 highly trained international professionals.

International experts considered the requirements related to proficiency in the Finnish language to be the biggest obstacle to employment. They believed that employers should critically evaluate these requirements if they want to be attractive employers.

HS spoke to an Espoo resident Xijung Wang, who had worked as a university researcher in the field of biotechnology in the United States. Although he speaks Finnish, he has encountered difficulties. Wang said that although only one applied for a job required fluent Finnish language skills, he still did not succeed in getting a job. Wang says he believes some companies are afraid of cultural differences and therefore do not hire international talent.

As many as 75 percent of international jobseekers who responded to the survey reported experiencing discrimination when applying for a job. 61 percent said they experienced discrimination in the workplace. Forty-five percent of respondents said they had not received a response to their job applications from some employers.

Universum Country Manager for Finland Mika Sallinen finds the results very worrying. According to him, they show that Finnish working life is still far from supporting diversity.

Availability of winter tires on a fragile base

The war in Ukraine may affect the availability and price of tires in Finland. The summer tire season starts next week, but the war has disrupted industrial supply chains, causing problems with tire availability, Kauppalehti tells about it.

Juha Ala-HiiroA leading trade union expert says Russia and Ukraine are important suppliers of material to the Finnish tire industry.

Nokian Tires, for example, produced about 80 percent of its passenger car tires in Russia last year, and the company has been criticized for continuing production in Russia.

Although the production of summer tires has largely been completed, consumers may still be affected by possible price increases due to rising freight and logistics costs.

However, rising production and raw material costs would affect winter tire prices.

According to Ala-Hiiro, the industry could turn to Asia or the United States for raw material procurement, but it is unclear how quickly the exchange could take place.

So if motorists may need new winter tires this fall, Ala-Hiiro recommends getting them right away.

The nurses’ unions impose a ban on overtime

Municipal workers in several sectors continue to argue with their employers when a new collective agreement is broken.

One of the most bitter controversies is between nurses and their employers, as nurses seek to raise wages in addition to annual increases in the cost of living in an attempt to alleviate the profession’s low pay.

Aamulehti says that the nurses’ unions announced on Thursday that they would introduce a ban on overtime and shift work, as collective bargaining has not progressed as the unions wanted. The ban will apply to the entire municipal sector on Saturday afternoon and will last until next Friday.

In addition to annual contract increases, the unions Tehy and Super are demanding a 3.6 percent annual pay increase for healthcare workers over five years. The organizations estimate the cost of the program to be around € 300 million a year. According to employer groups, the requirement is too expensive for the public sector to implement.

The strike warning issued by Tehy and Super last week would affect 40,000 health care workers in 13 different hospital districts. The two-week strike is scheduled to begin on April 1, unless agreement is reached on working conditions.

Source: The Nordic Page





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