Thai berry pickers are staying in Finland until they have all been paid, according to their supporters. Negotiations brought payments for 30 of the pickers, but the remaining 20 have not received the money they feel they are owed, Finnish Yle reported.
The company they are in dispute with, Ber-Ex, says that the matter is closed following talks over the weekend. CEO Kari Jansa claims the money for the remaining 20 pickers is being sent to Thailand. The pickers arrived in Helsinki on Monday, with most booked on flights to leave that day. They refused to board the plane, however, out of solidarity with 20 of their colleagues still in dispute with the company.
“Nobody is leaving the country until those 20 receive their pay,” said Taneli Hämäläinen, a contact person for the group.
Ville Hoikkala, the lawyer who helped the pickers file a human trafficking complaint (which was rejected by the prosecutor), told Yle that he was not aware of the matter. He last met the pickers two days ago and did not want to comment on the case, but will meet the Thai group on Thursday.
Visas for the pickers run out at the start of October. At present they have accommodation in the Helsinki area until Friday, or Saturday morning at the latest.
“We are in a tight spot,” said Hämäläinen. “It’s difficult to say where we go from here.”