Leiksa, a far-flung town in eastern Finland, has attracted a lot of bad publicity in recent years from Perussuomalaiset (PS)* councilmen who demanded a ‘Somali-free’ meeting room to a migrant taxi driver that was assaulted recently, is once again in the news for all the wrong reasons. A group of parents from the town of 12,000 inhabitants don’t want their children to be driven to and from school by Somali taxi drivers.
The parents claim that the taxis that the children are taken to school haven’t passed the annual vehicle safety and roadworthiness test or have alcohol ignition locks required by law.
Some parents have filed complaints to the police and threatened to boycott the taxis if the drivers aren’t changed and that the cars have passed the annual vehicle safety test.
Pauli Meriläinen, the owner who hired the Somali taxi drivers, denies the accusations made against him.
‘The whole fuss started when I hired by mistake migrant taxi drivers,” he was quoted as saying on Joensuu-based Karjalainen. ‘Right after that the problems began. Parents started to made up these accusations.’
Read full story (in Finnish) here.
One of the parents told YLE Pohjois-Karjala that the parents don’t feel comfortable with the Somali drivers because they don’t speak sufficient Finnish.
‘This has nothing to do with the color of their skin or their nationality,’ the person said. ‘In the agreement it states that [Finnish] language proficiency must be sufficient but in this case it isn’t.’
The parents of the children accuse Meriläinen of using the ‘racism card’ to not resolve their two demands: change the drivers and the roadworthiness of the taxis.
‘I wonder what the union thinks if parents demand that I change the drivers?’ Meriläinen said. ‘Is that a reason to layoff [these drivers]? The [taxi] drivers [are qualified and] have driven buses in Helsinki.’
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.