Labor discrimination is openly advertised in Finland

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

I visited Tampere over the weekend and visited a popular beer tavern called Ravintola Plevna. One of the first matters that caught my eye was a sign on the upper-left-hand side of the entrance that read: “Finnish work.”* If you visit Plevna’s  website you will, however, find links of the establishment in English, German and Russian. 

The sign on the door, Suomalainen työ, is misleading for a number of reasons. First, it’s unclear if they are speaking of Finnish employees and/or products.

If we look at the Avainlippu logo means that a product has been produced in Finland.  But what does this imply?

While Plevena does not openly advertised that it hires only Finns, placing such a sign on the wall sends a mixed signal especially during this tougher times for immigrants and minorities in Finland.

Unemployment is an issue that affects all of us irrespective of our background. It is like a bomb that does not ask you where you are from before it tears you to shreds.

Finns and Finnish unions should understand that immigrants are in the same, or worse boat, than Finnish workers. Usually immigrants are the last one’s hired and the first one to get laid off from their jobs.

Migrant Tales would be very happy to publish pictures of signs sent by bloggers on establishments that have a policy of hiring only Finns.

*Suomalainen työ.

  1. Jaakko

    – There isn’t a single Finn that is a visible minority working there. If such a person worked at Plevna, would it send the wrong message about their we-hire-only-Finns policy?

    You know, most of the people think that if you are born in Finland, then you a Finn. If an African couple moves to Finland and they have a daughter who is raised in Finland, she is a Finn. Therefore also visible minority could work in a place such as Plevna. Just because there are no minorities working in the place doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be.

    However, I do agree that “Only Finns work here.” sign is unnecessary and shouldn’t be in the bar.

  2. Mark


    I’m sorry, but you are plain wrong if you think that just because most people would accept that Finn covers all those born in Finland that this sign is somehow not using or implying a restricted sense of the word. You hit the nail on the head by saying it’s unnecessary. If it was being used in the wider sense, it is unnecessary; somebody clearly thought it was necessary, and that suggests it was being used in the narrower sense. Come on, we can at least agree that, otherwise, we really are making excuses here for people.

  3. Jaakko


    I do agree with you. And actually do think this sign excludes some of the people in Finland by denying their job opportunities. I’m not totally sure but it is probably also illegal to advertise the business like that. Wasn’t there a news about this kind of advertisement just a few weeks ago?

  4. Martin-Éric

    Jaakko, sadly the Citizenship Act disagrees with you; people born on Finnish soil are not automatically Finns by birth. Real-life attitudes of Finns towards those who LOOK or SOUND different also disagree with you.

  5. Jaakko


    You can search the topic from Migration Tales:
    YLE: Yritykset mainostavat työntekijöidensä suomalaisuudella
    October 1, 2011

  6. justicedemon

    The Google comments on that establishment from Finnish customers suggest that they might do well to hire a better chef of any nationality:

    Lissu ‎ – May 19, 2011
    En suosittele kenellekään! En iki kuunaan päivänä enää astu tähän ravintolaan. Ruoka oli huonompaa keskitasoa, juomat ok, varsinkin sima. Palvelu ja henkilökunnan käytös ala-arvoista. Olimme varanneet 30 hengen päivällisen ja tyhmyyttämme uskoimme etukäteislupaukseen “juu, saatte tottakai reilusti alennusta”. Laskujen tultua saimme halvimman annoksen, 10 € ilmaiseksi ja ko annoksen syönyt henkilö muuttui ryhmänohjaajaksi heidän taholtaan. Meidän äititapaamisseurueemme muuttui henkilökunnan silmissä sekoilevaksi kanalaumaksi. Käytös oli todella alentuvaa. Ei ikinä enää enkä toivo muidenkaan menevän.
    Sari ‎ – Mar 21, 2010
    Panimoravintola Plevna Ruoka oli suorastaan ala-arvoista,maksa naheaa,kumimaista ennemminkin keitettyä kuin paistettua..muusi ja silakkapihvit suolatonta ja kala kuivaa…valkosipulifriikin unelma vai mikä lie olisi ehkä ollut hyvä jos tarjoilija olisi vienyt viestin kokille oikein.Eli pidän kypsästä pihvistä ja sain verisen,mutta mikä vei ruokahalun oli pihvin harmaa väri ja lihanesteiden valuminen,kun yritin pihviä sahata…Tarjoiluhenkilökunta ei pahotellut ruoan ala-arvoisuutta saati yrittänyt korvata jotensakkin pilalle mennyttä ruokahetkeä..Seurusteluravintolana varmasti ihan ok,mutta ruokaravintolana ihan susi.

  7. Seppo

    “people born on Finnish soil are not automatically Finns by birth. Real-life attitudes of Finns towards those who LOOK or SOUND different also disagree with you.”

    You are right if you by being a Finn mean a person with Finnish citizenship. However, Finn-ness is not just a legal concept and I know many Finns who don’t have Finnish citizenship.

    When it comes to the attitudes, that is a sad story, but I do believe that things are slowly changing as it is more and more common for Finns to have e.g. a darker skin color or a different religious or linguistic background.

  8. Mary Mekko

    Sometimes it’s had to distinguish an Estonian from a Finn.

    But in California, if you look mestizo but are born in USA, you’re still a “Mexican” even if your mother is a Finn and your father is Columbian. It’s just a category, shorthand for “Mongolian dark features”.

    Finland, Finland, wherefore art thou Finland?