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JUHANI ARTTO
HOMEPAGE 2013

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Berry pickers must be paid at least EUR 7.91 per hour

Helsinki (18.07.2012 - Juhani Artto) Currently, thousands of seasonal employees are working in Finland as berry pickers at the many strawberry fields scattered throughout the country. Many are Finnish schoolboys and schoolgirls but since the 1990s a substantial proportion of strawberry pickers have been foreigners. Soon thousands more berry pickers will arrive in Finland to pick forest berries, such as blueberries, cloudberries and cranberries. Most of them fly into Finland from Thailand.

There is a collective agreement that sets out the minimum standards for berry picking work. According to the agreement the minimum hourly wage is EUR 7.91. Students in comprehensive or upper secondary school must be paid at least 70 per cent of this (EUR 5.54). Piece rate work should entitle the picker to at least 20 per cent higher earnings than time rate work.

Students who will be 14 years of age this year are allowed to work as berry pickers as it is considered to be "light work". Their maximum working hours are 7 hours per day.

In recent years the working conditions and often the sad fate of forest berry pickers from Thailand, and some other countries outside of the European Union, have caused much public outcry in Finland.

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