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JUHANI ARTTO
HOMEPAGE 2013

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Trade Union News from Finland

JHL opposed to privatisation of road-builder Destia

JHL (17.12.2012 - Juhani Artto) The future ownership of Destia, the state-owned company which constructs and maintains roads and railways is at stake. Parliament had approved its privatisation back in 2010 and Heidi Hautala, the green minister responsible for state ownership matters, was ready to go ahead with the sell-off in November. However, the two leftist parties in the six-party coalition government of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, find the proposed privatisation of this state-owned company problematic.

Trade unions organizing Destia's employees, JHL and Pardia, are vehemently opposed to the initiative. Jarkko Eloranta, the President of JHL, warns that privatisation of this vital part of our infrastructure sector could lead to similar price increases which have blighted the construction sector in general.

"Construction of apartments is concentrated in the hands of a few big companies, and prices have risen in an uncontrolled fashion. Do we really want the same problem to be transferred to road-building?"

According to Eloranta privatisation would also risk the maintenance of transport infrastructure and weaken Finland's preparedness when it comes to meeting crisis situations. Moreover, he is keen to remind us that if previous experience is anything to go by, government sell-offs of state owned companies have had pretty dismal results.

Privatisation would increase the risk of corruption, too. We all know that this is an industry, which is prone to corruption, Eloranta says in an interview with the newspaper Hbl. "There are too many examples of corrupt practises in the past for it to be overlooked. The state should not take such a risk", he warns.

Destia has an annual turnover of EUR 500 million and employs 1,600 people. Some 650 of them are JHL members.