Cheap competition from Estonia is causing problems for many Finnish construction companies, who are finding it difficult to compete with the shady business practices of many of the Estonian firms.
Estonian companies involved in the questionable dealings are often run by Finns. The standard practice is to flout the law as long as possible, and when the company is caught doing something illegal, the employees are simply moved to another company that the same people have set up, and operations resume from a clean slate.
The recession has brought nearly all construction in Estonia to a halt.
Kyösti Suokas, deputy chairman of the Finnish Construction Trade Union, says that nearly all capable Estonian builders now work in Finland. The workers are often underpaid, and often no taxes, or social insurance contributions are paid, he says.
He says that small Finnish construction companies are desperate, because it is impossible to compete with companies registered in Estonia.
“Medium sized companies also say that it is impossible to get subcontracting work, because they cannot compete with companies registered in Estonia”, Suokas says.