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Ylva created a new way to increase inclusivity on construction sites

Ylva wants to increase inclusivity and equality on its construction sites. Its novel way to commit and demand equality actions from its collaborative partners helps reduce grey economy in construction.

The Helsinki of tomorrow that is sustainable and inclusive in line with Ylva’s vision is built by way of including everyone, feeling a shared sense of pride in the work and actively dealing with any problems. People’s health and safety always comes first on Ylva’s worksites. Ylva has published new guidelines for attachment to its subcontracting agreements and requires all companies participating in a project to commit to these.

“For us, it is self-evident that work is always done in a healthy and safe environment, that it is appropriately paid for and that the employees are treated with dignity in terms of working conditions and accommodation alike. That is why we are doing all we can on the Lyyra worksite in order to genuinely make this happen. We have a knowledgeable and inspiring group of talented people spurring us on with whom we can talk openly about anything, from developments in EU legislation to the lavatory arrangements on the worksite. This is something completely unique,” says Ylva’s Chief Sustainability Officer Antti Ruuska.

Ylva has been developing its inclusivity work in collaboration with a steering group featuring representatives from the Finnish Construction Trade Union, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions, the City of Helsinki, the University of Helsinki and the Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries. The steering group’s work has been facilitated by Demos Helsinki.

“The promotion of a fair labour market belongs to everyone. The strategy and action plan for tackling the grey economy and economic crime for 2020–2023 outlines future legislative measures and development of the authorities’ work aiming to promote a fair labour market. The practical work is done in the everyday operations of companies and workplaces, where the development of good practices and personalised processes is key in terms of things moving forward. It is great that Ylva is sharing its practices with others as well,” highlights Ministerial Adviser at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment Päivi Kantanen.

“A great project and vision. The culture of construction needs to be changed. On many worksites, reality does unfortunately not reflect Finland’s good legislation. Employees are treated poorly and unfairly, underpayment is a pretty much constant problem. At the end of the day, it is a question of willingness. There is plenty of work to be done, and the bar needs to be raised. It is excellent that Ylva is setting an example in the industry with its actions,” says the Finnish Construction Trade Union’s Advisor Nina Kreutzman.

Inclusivity on construction sites is part of Ylva’s B4IG work (in Finnish), for which the Lyyra worksite acts as the pilot. You can find the full subcontracting attachment (in Finnish) here.

More attachments, does anyone read them?

In its attachment, Ylva has summarised its principles regarding equality and inclusivity. The attachment will be gone through with all contractors and subcontractors involved in Ylva’s construction projects. Inclusivity is built on three separate levels, of which the first relates to work safety, the second to the inclusivity principles of worksites, and the third to the reinforcement of ownership and know-how on worksites.

The world cannot be changed with attachments alone, though, even if they act as a strong pillar of support in possible cases of breach. To succeed, the reinforcement of social cohesion calls for measures to be taken each day. This is exactly what is emphasised on the Lyyra worksite – simple solutions that improve everyday routines on site. The cleanliness of staff facilities, having enough space, good drying facilities, enough mealtime facilities, functional refrigeration and heated lavatory facilities on the worksite are just some examples of small things with a big impact.

“As managers, we try to run the worksite in a way that makes each new worker feel welcome to the project and see that they and their good work are appreciated. It is the job of worksite managers and supervisors to create the conditions for each employee and their individual work efforts to succeed and to help them do it,” describes Ilkka Venho, Haahtela’s Site Manager in charge of the Lyyra project.


More information:

Antti Ruuska, Chief Sustainability Officer, +358 40 176 3142

Jannica Aalto, Marketing and Communications Director, +358 45 134 7636 (media inquiries)