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HomeFinlandCould Finland Compel Civil Servicemen to Milk Cows?

Could Finland Compel Civil Servicemen to Milk Cows?

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There’s been a positive reaction to a recent comment on a Finnish-language Yle article suggesting that civilian servicemen help alleviate some of the serious labour shortages on farms.

Milking cows, though often automated these days, is a twice-a-day routine on dairy farms.

The commenter proposed that young men carrying out civilian service, in lieu of military conscription, could step in as stand-in labour on dairy farms.

In Finland, every young male is compelled by law to serve as a conscript in the military. While there is an option to perform longer civilian service in lieu of conscription, more than 70 percent of Finnish men complete their military service, according to the Defence Forces.

Päivi Wallin of Farmers’ Social Insurance Institution Mela did not knock the idea of using civilian servicemen at dairy farms, instead saying it warranted further investigation.

“We need to turn every stone to find new people to fill in as substitutes,” she said, adding that there could be room to consider an apprenticeship-type model for civilian conscripts.

Mikko Reijonen, director at the Civilian Service Center, also reacted positively to the idea, as non-military service plays a role in preparing for various crises.

“In agricultural tasks, security of supply issues becomes very central. I would see that jobs carried out by farming substitutes could be potential civil service tasks,” Reijonen told Yle.

Current laws would allow civilian service duties to include temporary farm work.

Mela told Yle that a survey found that there is an urgent need for dozens of relief staffers on farms, including people who can step in as sick leave substitutes.

Farm relief work typically starts around 2,000 euros a month, with some shift bonuses.

Source: Yle

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