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Trade Union News from Finland

Now organized employers make proposals to intensify fight against grey economy

Helsinki (17.01.2011 - Juhani Artto) The fight against the grey economy has taken an important step forward with the new initiatives being proposed by the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK. The powerful employer central organisation wants to make tax identification numbers mandatory for all persons working in the construction industry.

"Foreign workers would have to obtain their tax identification number from the tax office before being allowed onto construction sites in Finland. Tax identification numbers would allow the Finnish tax authorities to monitor how long each foreign worker is staying in Finland. This would clarify whether or not the person would have to pay taxes in Finland", EK says.

Trade union organizations have welcomed EK's initiative on the tax identification number. Strong legislation is beneficial for both employees and honest entrepreneurs, emphasizes Matti Harjuniemi, the President of the 85,000 rank and file member Finnish Construction Trade Union.

He believes that "completely naïve" attitudes towards the grey economy are gradually losing ground. "Practically all construction workers and forced entrepreneurs, coming for example from the Baltic countries, work without any kind of social security and without any pension and unemployment benefits", Harjuniemi says. "They receive anything from EUR5 to EUR10 per hour in cash and invariably do not pay any income tax, to any state."

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