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Helsinki (05.08.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) Nokia has broken the law by paying salaries which were too low to Polish, Chinese and Indian employees in Finland. The Regional State Administrative Agency issued a warning to the company regarding the matter of wage discrimination.

According to the public broadcaster Yle, the Regional State Administrative Agency noticed that Nokia paid much less to their foreign employees than to Finnish employees.

The warning issued concerns 19 Polish, 36 Chinese and 40 Indian employees who were working at Nokia 2014 - 2015. According to Yle the foreign employees’ pay had been 50 - 75  per cent less than that for Finnish employees in similar jobs.

The foreign employees in question worked on specialist or managerial positions in fields like product development design.

According to the Union of Professional Engineers in Finland the salary for the tasks done by the foreign specialist should probably be at least 4 000 euros a month, or even more. The foreign employees received, however, salaries as low as 750 euro a month.

”Of course we do not accept that people come to Finland to work on dumped salaries or otherwise bad terms of work”, says Samu Salo, Chairperson of  the Union of Professional Engineers in Finland.

The Finnish legislation forbids discrimination in salaries irrespective of nationality. Foreign employees must get the same terms of employment as Finns in similar jobs, Salo stresses.

The Finnish Aliens Act stipulates that an employer must inform the shop steward and safety and health representative of the name of an employee coming from outside the European Union and the applicable collective agreement for that employee.

Tuula Aaltola, the shop steward for Nokia managerial employees says that the company had not informed shop stewards about employees coming from Poland, China and India. They had obviously been working for some Nokia subsidiary.

In May Nokia made 1,032 employees in Finland redundant. Shop steward Tuula Aaltola is afraid that older Finnish employees especially have been replaced by foreign employees due to the lower salary.

Nokia confirms it has received the warning but is refusing to give interviews to the media. It explains the reason for too low salaries was a misunderstanding on housing and daily allowances.

Trade unions do not think it was a mistake. Major companies like Nokia unquestionably have lawyers working for them who are well aware of Finnish labour legislation.