Have the PS and MP Tossavainen of Finland ever heard of the Non-Discrimination Act?

by , under Enrique

If the future of Finland were ever left to the populist Perussuomalaiset (PS) party, it’s quite certain that this country would be doomed. The ones that would suffer the most would be immigrants and visible minorities. Outright discrimination would be  the rule.

The PS, who should know better, sent a formal request to the council of state last week asking whether it was possible to only hire Finnish workers to refurbish its recently acquired party headquarters in Helsinki.

In a blog entry on Uusi Suomi, Migrant Tales answered a question that the PS asked the council of state in a blog entry: Is it discrimination only to hire Finnish workers?

We answered PS MP Anssi Joutsenlahti’s question with a flat yes. Thanks to JusticeDemon’s help, we were able to show to the PS MP which part of the Non-Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination on the grounds of nationality.

Paragraph 1 of subsection 1 of section 2: “This Act applies to both public and private activities in the following contexts: 1) conditions for access to self-employment or means of livelihood, and support for business activities.”

For some reason the PS, the country’s third-largest party in parliament with 39 seats, does not – or does not want to – get it.

Instead of engaging in a meaningful debate about discrimination in Finland, PS MP Reijo Tossavainen writes the following comment in a Migrant Tales’ posting on Uusi Suomi: “This blog entry’s headline [Is it discrimination to only hire Finnish workers? Certainly!]  is  frankly shocking.Are Finnish labor, Finnish entrepreneurship, and Finnish identity in general something marginal in Finland?”

PS MP Reijo Tossavainen appears to have never heard of the Non-Discrimination Act.

Tossavainen even takes a below-the-belt hit at Migrant Tales in another comment. My mother is Finnish, I am a Finnish citizen and have lived in this country for 33 years.

“In a blog entry on Uusi Suomi two foreigners [Farzad Moghaddam pour and I] who live in Finland write about hiring only Finnish workers [to refurbish] the party’s headquarters. Their writings and comments make for uncomfortable reading because they respect too little Finland and Finnish identity. But what is even more shocking is to see that there are a lot of native Finns who think like them.”

Just because a populist politician has probably never read the Non-Discrimination Act in his life, doesn’t give him the right to erroneously claim that I don’t respect Finland or Finnish identity. It is an insult like many others that have come to characterize the PS after last year’s elections.

The PS are a threat to Finland, but especially to immigrants, visible minorities and expat Finns.








  1. JusticeDemon


    Please refer to the correct statute. I located the written parliamentary question that the PS submitted to the Finnish government and also referred you specifically to the relevant law in a message posted last week.

    It is clear from the parliamentary question that the PS did not hire or employ anyone for this work, but instead commissioned a renovation firm to perform this assignment. The PS then boasted that it had used Finnish labour for this assignment, with the obvious subtext that it had somehow forbidden the use of foreign labour.

    Two fairly high ranking civil servants responded to this boast by pointing out that a client is prohibited by law from requiring a service provider to discriminate on grounds of nationality. The relevant statute is paragraph 1 of subsection 1 of section 2 of the Non-Discrimination Act, which makes it quite clear that the general ban on discrimination (section 6 of the Act) applies to the relationship between a client and a service provider.

    Your reference to paragraph 2 of the same subsection is incorrect, as applied to the PS in these circumstances.

    The Non-Discrimination Act clarifies the point that a client seeking to impose a condition on a service provider governing the nationality of its employees has committed a prima facie discrimination offence under section 11 of chapter 11 of the Finnish Penal Code.

    We covered an example of this kind in Migrant Tales last autumn, though we were more concerned at that time with unlawful dismissal of the employee concerned. Another feature of that case, however, was that the members of the local homeowners’ association also committed an offence in seeking to impose conditions on their association concerning the nationality of its employee. It is the offence of this latter kind that is relevant in discussing the parliamentary question submitted by the peruSSuomalaiset.

  2. tp1

    JusticeDemon, seems that Enrique is not so interested about facts. He just writes anything that looks good according to his own agenda.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      tp1, having lived in a country where there has been tough censorship by the military government, I have a clear distaste for censorship. The question is what can we debate if you are set in our prejudice and discrimination? There are certain things that are unacceptable in our society (these are written in our laws). One of these is discrimination.

      When I debate with someone I think of William Blake’s quote: “The eagle never lost so much time, as when he submitted to learn of the crow.”

      What can we learn from each other? How can our ideas join forces and build a more socially just society that is acceptant? That’s what I am interested in.

  3. Yossie

    So basically it is hands down and give all contruction projects to estonian subconstructors that are able to employ estonians in Finland for estonian wages?

    If this country was lead by Enrique Tössieri and his cronies, we surely would be doomed when they would let every single uneducated and illiterate immigrant to enter and take advantage of the welfare system.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –So basically it is hands down and give all contruction projects to estonian subconstructors that are able to employ estonians in Finland for estonian wages?

      Why is it that you claim something that I have never said or suggested? What I am saying is that we have labor laws in Finland that must be respected.

      The assertion that foreigners come here to do cheap and poor work is a stereotype used by the PS. What we need is more union activity and political support to ENSURE that employers don’t pay hunger wages to immigrants. That is the issue.

    • JusticeDemon


      Customers are free to select their contractors in the same way that they are free to buy their groceries from Stockmann, SOKOS or Lidl. The only significant constraint on this freedom concerns customers who are spending public funds (such as local authorities) and are therefore bound by public procurement regulations.

      Customers are not free to require their contractors to discriminate as a condition of awarding contracts.

      For example, you may make a deal with any plumbing firm to overhaul your central heating system, but you are not allowed to require that plumbing firm to employ only Polish plumbers for the work in question.

      It is also illegal to impose employment conditions in Finland that fall below the minimum standards of the applicable collective agreement. You are hardly in a position to describe anyone as uneducated when you are so evidently ignorant of this fundamental fact about the labour market in Finland.

      You might also find it enlightening to look into the ownership structure of those “Estonian” subcontractors. In rather too many cases these have turned out to be de facto subsidiaries of Finnish developer firms. The Finnish operators of such scams are only too pleased to see ignorant commentators like you blaming foreigners for their abusive conduct.

  4. tp1

    but you are not allowed to require that plumbing firm to employ only Polish plumbers for the work in question

    So the question seems to come down to this:

    A) If PS has demanded the contractors that they can only use finnish workers -> illegal

    B) If PS has searched for a contractor that only use finnish workers -> legal

    • JusticeDemon

      Essentially, yes.

      My understanding is that even though the peruSSuomalaiset receive a political party subsidy from the State, they are not bound by the Public Procurement Act and do not have to arrange a call for tenders. They are free to choose their contractor. I haven’t had a chance to check this. Publicly subsidised voluntary associations are sometimes bound by public procurement regulations, and must then apply non-discriminatory selection criteria.

      Of course, it could be argued that an association will make the choice of contractor through some kind of collective procedure (e.g. a decision of the board), and may be bound by a non-discrimination duty in this way. I’m sure that the party’s auditors will take an interest in this matter at some stage.