A low-income employee from Iraq faces bullying daily; being a victim of Migri

by , under W. Che an Enrique Tessieri

Some foreigners, especially those who came to Finland seeking asylum in 2015 and got a work permit to stay, face a dire situation: either put up with the work or leave Finland. One such case is Majid*, a 24-year-old Iraqi national living in Rovaniemi for the past three years.

Apart from the near-constant bullying and poor treatment he says he experiences at work, it is doubtful that he will be able to raise his hourly wage of 10.88 euros an hour. According to him, the money he makes is not enough to live off.

Finding a job in Finland is a challenge for some. For some, like Majid, it means daily bullying and ridicule.

“I am bullied and treated without respect by my supervisors,” Majid said. “I have turned to the PAM union’s shop steward and spoken directly to the manager of the company about my situation. None of them take what I say seriously, and life at work continues the same way as before.”

The Iraqi national said that a recent bullying case that occurred at the company was with a supervisor. He saw him inside an empty train at work cleaning and asked him to turn off the music. “I told him that the music doesn’t bother anyone,” he said. “Since I didn’t do what he said, he locked me in a small closet for a few minutes.”

When I told a manager of the company about the incident, he didn’t do anything.

“As a low-paid employee and being a foreigner on top of it means that nobody listens or believes you,” he added.

Even if the Iraqi would do anything to change jobs, it isn’t that easy.

“All of the foreigners [except me] have left the company because of the bullying and poor treatment [by the supervisors],” he continued. “I have to have a full-time job to keep my residence permit [granted by the Finnish Immigration Service, Migri]. My situation is complicated and bureaucratic.”

Due to the daily bullying and poor treatment he receives at work and the psychological stress, Majid said he suffers from insomnia, headaches and is “almost always in a state of stress.”

His Finnish partner is surprised that a Finnish company can treat an employee in such a demeaning manner.

“I never believed it could happen in Finland,” she said.

*The name was changed to protect him from further problems with his employer.