The Electrical Workers'
Union discloses again
underpayment of foreign electricians
Helsinki (01.03.2013 - Heikki Jokinen)
Finnish Electrical Workers´ Union recently disclosed how Estonian electrical
workers were underpaid on a major construction site (car park P-Hämppi) in the city of Tampere.
After the visit of the union representatives some of the Estonian
electricians joined the union and asked for help.
"There are many new
companies in this branch and it can happen that they just simply do not know
the rules. In most cases everything is ok", says ombudsman Jari Ollila in
Vasama, the magazine of the union.
In this case in Tampere
the problems occurred with two subcontractors.
One is a member of the contractors' association and the problems with this
firm can be solved by negotiation. The other firm is registered in Estonia
and the union has not been able to make any real contact with it. For this
reason the union has declared a blockade against the company.
Another unpleasant aspect
to the case is that the owner of the car park company Finnpark is the city
of Tampere. The managing director of Finnpark tells the union magazine that
Finnpark did check everything the law demands and even made two inspection
visits to the construction site to verify the workers' documents. - Yet, the underpaid workers
Finnpark acted immediately
after they heard about the situation from the union and made it clear to the
main contractor that dishonest subcontractors are not welcome.
Since September 2012 all workers on the new construction sites
have been obliged to carry
identification documents containing their personal taxation numbers.
The Act on the
Contractor’s Obligations and Liability when Work is Contracted Out also
stipulates that when subcontracting takes place, the onus is on the party
who has delegated this work to check that all legal obligations of their
counterparty are in order and that the latter pays wages and salaries in
accordance with the collective agreements.
From the beginning of
March 2013 the Act also applies to
all older construction sites. It
covers both domestic and foreign subcontractors.
The Act on Public
Contracts makes it obligatory to tender all major public contracts. In this
process price often has a major bearing on decisions as to who should be
awarded the contract and this may benefit those contractors who do not
fulfil all employer obligations.