Ministry to help set up safety measures for next year’s Thai berry pickers in Finland

Roughly 3,000 Thai nationals arrived in Finland to pick berries in July and August. Image: Vesa-Pekka Hiltunen / Yle

Due to tight living conditions that caused local outbreaks, nearly 300 berry pickers, most of whom were from Thailand, were diagnosed with Covid-19 in July and August while working in Finland. To avoid similar incidents next year, Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has now announced plans to participate in improving operating models for companies that hire foreign berry pickers, according to YLE.

Following the outbreak amongst the Thai berry pickers, Thailand asked in August Finnish authorities for an explanation about the foreign workers living conditions. Investigations determined that one of the reasons why the infections spread so rapidly among the Thai berry pickers was due to people who were ordered into quarantine were living in the same quarters as others who were not ordered to isolate.

According to Employment Ministry government advisor Olli Sorainen, going forward, more attention will be paid to matters surrounding the foreign berry pickers’ living conditions and those new regulations can be expected to be rolled out.

“At the end of this year’s berry-picking season, authorities will discuss with berry picking firms to assess what went well and what went wrong over the season. The conclusion drawn from those conversations will have a direct impact on the procedures and conditions that will need to be followed next year,” Olli Sorainen said.

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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