Over the past year and a half, the Regional State Administrative Agency of Southwest Finland (AVI) has inspected ten companies operating as subcontractors to Meyer Shipyard. The reports reveal that each of the companies inspected has had shortcomings with regard to so-called posted workers coming to Finland from abroad.

Occupational safety inspections carried out throughout the country last year revealed shortcomings in about half of the posted workforce. Problems were therefore found more often than average among Meyer’s subcontractors.

The problems have been related to salaries paid, among other things. According to AVI’s calculations, the lowest wage has been less than 7 euros per hour, although according to its collective agreements, it should be at least about 11 euros per hour. In addition, the AVI found evidence that employees’ overtime has not been recorded or compensated.

There have also been shortcomings in working time accounting. According to AVI, the hours worked do not correspond to the access control information received from the shipyard gate about the presence of employees at the workplace. Statutory notification of the posting of workers has not always been made in time – or at all.

The audited companies are from Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Spain, Romania and India.

The Indians designed ships in Turku with travel insurance

One example of underpayment at Meyer’s Turku shipyard is the case of Indian engineers.

According to AVI, three Indian engineers arrived in Turku in January 2019. The men had an employment contract with an Indian shipbuilding company, and officially they became trainees for a Finnish company belonging to the same group. The Finnish company is Meyer’s subcontractor.

The Indian employment contracts of the engineers did not comply with the Finnish collective agreements. The salary was too low and the working hours longer than in Finland.

According to AVI, while in Finland, the men received an Indian salary and 500 euros on top of it. The Association of Engineers estimates that the salary of an incoming engineer in India is around 700 euros per month. According to this calculation, the salary in Turku would have been 1,200 euros per month.

The average salary of a beginning Finnish engineer is about 3,000 euros a month.

The Indian engineers also did not have occupational accident insurance obtained by their employer but worked in Finland with travel insurance. When AVI asked about insurance, the employer provided proof of travel insurance.

The men’s training lasted three months, until April 2019.

The engineers were then applied for an employee residence permit, which they received in late August 2019.

However, an inspection by the Southwest Finland Regional Authority revealed that the Indians were also working at a time when they did not have a work permit. According to AVI, this is reflected in the company’s timesheets and employee payroll calculations.

AVI suspects that the employees have also done the work of a design engineer during the trainee visa, and that the employees have in fact been posted workers all along.

The regional authority suspects that Meyer’s subcontractor has deliberately sought to circumvent entry rules.

The employer does not want to comment on the case of Indian engineers.