Union Chief: Immigration No Answer To Labour Shortage

Union Chief: Immigration No Answer to Labour Shortage

The YLE, Finland
Published 30.09.2007

The Chairman of the SAK blue collar union federation Lauri Ihalainen says immigration will not solve a threatened labour shortage in Finland.

In an interview given to the newspaper Keskipohjanmaa, Ihalainen admitted foreign labour could be a stop-gap measure but would not solve the basic problem.

He felt measures should be taken to encourage the current labour force to stay at work beyond the present average age of retirement of 59 years. Raising this figure to 62 years would help, he claimed.

Ihalainen added his union federation was not opposed to foreign workers and said they should have equal rights, as well as the same pay and employment conditions as Finns. Services should be offered to them in their native tongue, he noted.

The union federation chief felt work was a best way to integrate immigrants into society but the process was not without problems. While the average unemployment rate stood at 7%, the figure for immigrants stood at 25%, he reminded.