JHL’s immigrants now have a network in Lapland: ”You don’t have to take care of everything by yourself”

Lapland’s immigrant network provides members with information about the union and support for integration. In January, JHL’s immigrant activities will cover the entire country, as a corresponding network will then be founded in Oulu.

Lapland now has its own network for promoting immigrant affairs in working life. JHL’s immigrant network in Lapland, LaMuT, was founded on 23 November in a Teams meeting.

Colin Kilday from Rovaniemi is the fresh chair of the network. He works as an institutional cleaner and wants immigrants to know how the union can help if they face problems in working life.

– Someone else is familiar with working life laws, statutes and collective agreements so that you don’t have to get acquainted with them. You don’t have to take care of everything by yourself.

Read moreJHL’s immigrant network extended to Eastern Finland – Chair Wendy Savolainen:It makes me happy and proud to see the trade union open itself to immigrants

The union keeps you up to date

Some immigrants are unfamiliar with trade unions because in several countries there aren’t any unions, or it can even be dangerous to be a union member.

The information about union assistance also doesn’t always reach everywhere, especially small workplaces and temporary agencies with no shop stewards.

– Many immigrants don’t know what the Orpo Government is pushing for and how it applies to them. If you don’t speak Finnish, it can be difficult to follow the news. The union can assist in this matter as well, Kilday says.

Read moreA large number of people in Finland is afraid to join the union

Background helps with work

Kilday knows how it’s like to work in Finland as an immigrant. He’s been living here for about 30 years and working ever since he completed the language and culture courses.

He’s had different kinds of occupational titles, including bartender, waiter and cleaner. He’s done “whichever jobs one has been able to find as an immigrant”.

I want to help immigrants integrate with Finnish people.

For the past ten years or so, he’s been working as an institutional cleaner in a factory and hospital. He’s spent the past couple of years working under a permanent employment contract for Lapland Central Hospital in Rovaniemi.

As a result of his colourful work history, he’s also been a member of several trade unions over the years. Kilday joined JHL because of his current job and became an organisational activist for the first time.

– Luckily, I haven’t had big problems in working life, but I want to help others, Kilday states.

During the last weekend of November, a group of JHL’s immigrant network actives got together for training days in Helsinki. Colin Kilday was one of them.

Towards integration

LaMuT is JHL’s seventh immigrant network. The networks cover nearly all of Finland. The only network missing is the network in Oulu. Its founding meeting will be held on 13 January 2024. Some people from Oulu already took part in a training that was organised in Helsinki in November.

In Lapland, the serious action will start right away. Up next, Kilday is going to come up with a strategy for LaMuT together with JHL’s Regional Activities Specialist Esko Tattari.

Kilday is at least going to promote people-to-people encounters. There are employees with various levels of Finnish fluency in many workplaces, and those who have come from the same linguistic region easily remain in their own group.

– I want to help immigrants integrate with Finnish people.

Read moreJHL’s third immigrant network has been founded, it only needs a name: Sunitha Akurathi and Michaël Fandi hope that the network will give them encounters, peer support and information about working life