Non-compliance with the “law of berries” is still quite common, suggests inspections

Hanna-Kaisa RajalaAVI’s director of occupational in Northern revealed that most of the notifications were related to staff orientation, during which employees should familiarize themselves with their statutory rights and obligations as seasonal workers.

According to him, the occupational health and safety authorities gave a total of 26 instructions. In addition, 12 notices were issued for both insufficient picking tools and equipment and failure to ensure that the authorities’ contact information is available to seasonal workers.

For some employees, the employer had given them only a picker for the berries, but no bucket or similar container. The authorities’ contact information could contain wrong phone numbers and be available only in Finnish.

The duties of occupational health and safety inspectors do not extend to, for example, accommodation offered to collectors, reminded.

The inspections were carried out two years after the law protecting the rights of seasonal berry workers in Finland was passed. On the basis of the law, the occupational safety authorities also followed the industry into difficulties last year due to, among other things, official reservations.

– We already noticed in the previous picking season that the threshold for berry pickers to talk to the authorities is quite high, Rajala said.

The authorities have tried to solve the problem by distributing the brochure and translating other documents into Thai.

“[The brochure] states somewhat cartoonishly: “Hey, I’m an inspector and you can also talk to me about confidential matters,” he reveals.

Rajala refused to assess whether the two-year-old law has improved the working conditions of berry pickers. “The inspection is completely new to the occupational health and safety authorities and we have only been doing it for two picking seasons,” he explained.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Source: The Nordic Page


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