Paper: More Estonian construction workers returning from Finland

Construction workers working for an Estonian company.
Construction workers working for an Estonian company. Source: Rene Suurkaev/ERR

An increasing number of Estonians who have been working in construction in Finland in search of higher wages have begun returning to Estonia as their financial situations as well as wages in the domestic construction market improve.

Those who were motivated to work in Finland by significantly higher wages are starting to return as their loans are paid off, and while wages are lower, it often means being able to return to their families, daily Postimees writes (link in Estonian).

While Estonian wages haven't yet caught up with Finnish ones throughout the sector, such as for general construction workers, Estonian workers are becoming increasingly aware of their worth and are less likely to agree to low wages, causing problems for Finnish construction companies reliant on cheap Estonian labor.

"Our experience is that Estonian carpenters earn an average of €14-15 per hour in Finland, but €10-11 in Tallinn," Finnish Construction Trade Union deputy chairman Kimmo Palonen said, adding that he understood why they would no longer be motivated to live and work in expensive Finland for only slightly higher wages, especially if their families are still in Estonia.

The chairman of the Finnish Construction Trade Union told business daily Äripäev last year that approximately 20,000-25,000 Estonian construction workers worked in Estonia; in 2017, meanwhile, some 600 more Estonians returned from Finland than went there.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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