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Trade unions against racism: Our Finland is open

Our Finland is open
Written byJoint Press Release 31.8.2023
Our Finland is open
The trade unions Pro, Industrial, OAJ, JHL and PAM defend the indivisibility of human dignity and express their serious concerns about the government's programme of restrictions on labour immigration. These restrictions make it more difficult to attract international talent to Finland and place workers in an unequal position on the basis of their nationality and background. These entries are not changed by the government's equality notice. 

The unions remind us that Finland's demographic problems require a diverse pool of talent and workers to come to Finland, and Finland cannot afford to fall into the trap of dividing people into us and them.

- Finnish trade unions are part of the international human rights movement, which defends the weaker and dismantles discriminatory structures in working life. There should be no room for racist speech or discrimination in Finnish society, the union leaders state.

Orpo's government program contains numerous restrictions regarding immigration, which make it more difficult to recruit international talent and to attract people to Finland.

In particular, the requirement to leave the country three months after termination of employment combined with the weakening of protection against dismissal is unreasonable. Many workplaces in Finland are already multicultural, with English as the main working language. The six-year residence period required for a permanent residence permit and the need to prove sufficient language skills will make future recruitment more difficult.

These restrictions undermine Finland's competitiveness and make it more difficult to attract much-needed education and labour migration. Finland faces a skills shortage at all levels of society, from blue-collar jobs to specialists. This has also been highlighted by business representatives and major companies. After years of crisis, this country needs unity and stability to build and grow through education, skills and innovation. Without a diversity of jobs, many innovations will not be created. 

The differentiation of social security for immigrants and permanent residents is an alarming example of a policy that divides human dignity.

- Finland's strengths are found in the values of our contractual society. Through a culture of respectful debate, we keep our society united and stable. Human rights belong to everyone, and fundamental rights apply to everyone, including migrants, the union leaders remind. 

Finnish society has been built as a strong welfare society based on meeting people as people. The strength of a society is measured by the way it takes care of everyone. Finland can do better.  
Jorma Malinen, President of Trade Union Pro  
Riku Aalto, President of Industrial Union  
Katarina Murto, President of Trade Union of Education in Finland, OAJ
Päivi Niemi-Laine, President of Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors, JHL  
Annika Rönni-Sällinen, President of the Service Union United, PAM