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Hundreds of pay claims in catering and retail businesses

Helsinki (23.07.2010 - Juhani Artto) The Service Union United PAM has some 600 cases at any given time where its rank and file members -individually or collectively- disagree with their employers. Half of the cases concerns pay claims, Kaarlo Julkunen, PAM's vice president explains in the economic daily Taloussanomat. Two thirds of these cases involve young employees and immigrant workers who are disgruntled by low pay.

According to Julkunen efforts to swindle employees is more common in the summer than in the other seasons. Catering businesses try to pay too little more often than retailers. In both sectors there is a collective agreement that is of a generally binding character. And this means, in effect, that also unorganised employers are obliged to respect the pay scales laid down in those agreements.

In 2002, when the German-based retailer Lidl opened shop in Finland, it soon achieved a reputation for frequent disputes with its employees. But, since then Lidl's behaviour has improved and it no longer differs from other retail chains, Julkunen says. According to Julkunen the problems were solved rapidly and a network of shop stewards was established following the model of other retailers operating in Finland.

PAM has over 220,000 members. Some 60,000 are below 30 years of age. About 4,000 are made up of immigrant labour.

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