One matter is clear when you live in a society and the country’s institutions see asylum seekers as inferior human beings we leave the door open to all kinds of abuse. A good example of how little power asylum seekers have in Finland is the family of nine that has been locked up at the Joutseno immigration removal center. If an asylum seeker is lucky enough to get work, that too can become an exercise in exploitation.
Not only are white Finns exploiting asylum seekers, but foreigners as well who have lived in Finland for a long time and who should know better.
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One case that was reported to the police was by Jihad Al Baghdadi, an asylum seeker from Iraq who was hired to work in March for A-T Puhditus, a Porvoo-based company that does subcontracting work for construction companies.
Al Baghdadi said that he wants us to publish this story about what happened to him at A-T Puhdistus because he doesn’t “give a shit anymore” what happens to him.
And a lot of things have happened to Al Baghdadi recently like public harassment by the racist MV publication and other social media forums that label him a terrorist, which he is not. Recently he was spotted by some members of the far right Soldiers of Odin vigilante group that ran after him in the Helsinki neighborhood of Kallio.
The Iraqi asylum seeker was initially happy when he was hired by two Iraqis to work for A-T Puhditus. All they asked of him was a tax card but did not ask them to show them if he had a work permit.
Since Al Baghdadi started to work for the company last month, he never signed a work contract with the company. Neither did A-T Puhdistus tell him how much he was going to make and what kind of working relationship they were going to have. But after a month and when payday came, everything became clear.
When Al Baghdadi informed the owner of A-T Puhdistus that he was going to quit, he was told he’d be discounted 186 and 240 euros from his 1,120 euro monthly (7 euro an hour) salary, which is low by any standards for people working in the construction sector.
“The owner said that Jihad would get paid 7 euros an hour if he didn’t quit but he would have to pay 426 euro [186 and 240 euros] from his 1,120 euro monthly salary,” said Al Baghdadi’s girlfriend, Beri. “The 186 euros would go to paying some tax [sic] to transfer the money to his account and 240 euros for the tax code certificate [verotunnus]that all construction workers must have. I found out that such a tax code certificate costs 24 euros.”
According to Al Baghdadi, abuse at A-T Puhdistus was constant. He was forced to “pay back” the time he took for coffee breaks and lunch by working overtime. The company didn’t pay him any health insurance and he was required to work on holidays for the low 7 euros per hour rate, according to him.
“A-T Puhdistus didn’t even train Jihad on how to use the machinery at the work site,” Beri added.
Al Baghdadi claimed that he’d be able to work for the normal 13.40 euro wage if he’d pay the company 6,000 euros.
“They said that that sum of money would go to paying Jihad’s health care and vacations,” Beri continued. “We went to the police to report what had happened but they seemed disinterested. We had to report this case twice because the police hadn’t filed the first report we gave them by phone.”
Such alleged exploitation and abuse by companies if true may be more widespread in Finland than we believe.
If nobody is interested in the welfare of these people, why would we care if they are exploited like Al Baghdadi alleges?
Please get in touch with us if you are facing similar exploitation at a company in Finland at [email protected] or [email protected]