Lapin Kansa interviewed nearly twenty former employees of Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort about what it is like to work in Lapland’s most renowned tourism enterprise. The most recent experiences are from spring this year. The entrepreneur disputes the employees’ accounts.

Lapin Kansa interviewed nearly twenty former employees of Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort about what it is like to work in Lapland’s most renowned tourism enterprise. The most recent experiences are from spring this year. The entrepreneur disputes the employees’ accounts.

This article was published in Finnish on 23 August 2023. It is now also being published in English because the customers and employees of this company are international. Lapin Kansa is the biggest independent newspaper in Lapland.

A few years ago, Adela from Asia was thrilled: she managed to land herself a permanent job at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort.

The salary she was promised was better than pay in the same industry in Southeast Asia, and the company’s website made it look like a trustworthy organisation. Adela quit her permanent job in her home country and relocated to Lapland.

However, it soon became clear that the reality of Kakslauttanen was far from what Adela had imagined.

Kuva: Miila Kankaanranta

According to Adela, from the very beginning, the company’s management threatened to send her and other women from Southeast Asia back home.

Even as late as Sunday evening, it was commonplace for Adela and her friends to be kept in the dark about what shifts they would have for the coming week. They shared an apartment with a door that could not be locked.

They were blamed for incidents that occurred at the workplace even when they were not on duty. Adela said it was easier to blame them than Europeans because they definitely did not want to lose their jobs. The young employees were working abroad for the first time.

After working at the company for five months, they were informed that the season was over and they should return home. Adela claims that no one was fired.

The women flew home with the assumption that their permanent jobs would continue later.

A few months later, when they contacted Kakslauttanen, their inquiries were left unanswered.

– It ruined our careers. We are now forever seasonal workers.

Please respond to the questionnaire:  What ex­pe­rien­ces do you have of working in Lap­land’s tourism in­dust­ry?

Lapin Kansa interviewed nearly twenty former employees of Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort for this story. The most recent experiences are from spring this year.

Due to the sensitive nature of this case, the employees’ names have been changed to protect their identities. Their true identities are known only to the editorial staff.

Lapin Kansa has been shown employment contracts and screenshots of messages exchanged between the management and subordinates of several former employees who were interviewed.

The employees reported several issues about how they were treated at Kakslauttanen. For example, they were regularly yelled at in front of customers, their working hours were unclear, and they received no training at all for the tasks they were assigned.

If they made any mistakes or wanted to leave, they were threatened with revoking their residence permits or work visas.

Last season, some employees wanted to quit their jobs after witnessing how employees were treated in the company.

One of the employees said the employer called them in for a serious talk. The employee was told that if they left, the employer would call the Finnish Immigration Service. After that, the work visa would be revoked.


Despite these threats, the turnover of employees in the company has been high: according to the former employees we interviewed, a large number of them leave during the season either on their initiative or on the initiative of the employer.

According to one person we interviewed, in December 2019 alone, Kakslauttanen let go of more than 15 employees during their probationary period.

People in the company’s leading positions also change frequently. The most recent externally hired CEO was Petri Härkönen, the former Chief Executive of the Municipality of Sodankylä. He worked for the company for less than a year.

The current CEO is the owner of the company, Juhani Eiramo.

The owner of Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Juhani Eiramo in year 2017.
The owner of Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Juhani Eiramo in year 2017.
Kuva: Olli Miettunen

The former employees we interviewed describe Juhani Eiramo as someone who is easily agitated and strives to skimp and save as much as possible.

For example, vehicles and other machinery and equipment are not serviced. Any repairs are only undertaken once they are totally out of order.

Employees have also been asked to pay compensation for all sorts of reasons.

Aaron, an Eastern European employee, terminated his employment contract after a colleague drove the company’s minivan off the road.

After the accident, the employer terminated the employment contract of the coworker who was driving the vehicle and threatened to withhold the minivan repair costs from the employee’s salary.

According to Aaron, the company’s vehicles were dangerous to use; for instance, the minivan driven off the road did not have winter tyres fitted.

During one season, souvenirs purchased by a customer disappeared. The employer compensated the customer for their losses by taking the money out of the employees’ shared tip bowl.

One employee said the bellboys had to remember by heart where the customers’ luggage needed to be taken. Marking the luggage with Post-it notes bags was not allowed because Juhani Eiramo did not want to waste any Post-it notes.

Saara, a Finnish citizen, was employed by Kakslauttanen to be an elf but ended up driving a minibus most of the time. She transported customers, cleaners, and luggage.

Saara rented a room through the employer. During her first six weeks, she had to pack her things and move five times. Each time, she was informed about the need to change rooms with about an hour’s notice.

There were 24 hours of work every other day, but only the hours worked were paid. The first transportation task of the day could easily be at four in the morning and the last one around midnight. The phone rang constantly when the receptionist asked for new rides for customers.

Lapin Kansa was shown Saara’s work shift lists from the time she was employed by Kakslauttanen.

– If you took a break for a moment from reception duties, Juhani could come and yell at us, ‘Why are you just standing around when those sledges are lying around outside in disorder?’ So, we had to drag these wooden sledges all over the resort, while sweating profusely.

As early as 2014, Lapin Kansa wrote about the atmosphere of fear and yelling at employees in Kakslauttanen. 
Lapin Kansa 14.2.2014

Han, an employee from Asia, was hired to handle office tasks. In practice, he spent a significant portion of his time doing things that had not been agreed upon, for example, serving as a waiter, cleaning, and carrying customers’ luggage.

Working hours were flexible in the sense that, in addition to the daily ten-hour working hours, he had to constantly perform night-time tasks that were not his responsibility because the company was short of staff.

– In this industry, working days can sometimes be rather long, it’s pretty normal. But this should not be a daily occurrence, Han says.

Another employee said Juhani Eiramo had a rule that employees were not allowed to heat their apartments to over 21 degrees Celsius.

Juhani Eiramo made sure everyone complied with the rule by visiting the employees’ rooms without any prior notice. If the heating was set higher than he permitted, he threatened to deduct a sum from the employee’s salary.

Another employee also recounted the inspections carried out in the apartments, during which Eiramo, among other things, criticised the items he had found in the rooms.

Many have also seen their employment contracts terminated in some peculiar ways.

Erja from Finland worked as a waitress at Kakslauttanen during the 2003–2004 season. She injured her knee and had to take a few days’ sick leave to recover. Her employment contract was terminated over the phone during her probationary probation while she was still on sick leave.

A much more recent experience involves Don, who was hired by Kakslauttanen’s marketing department.

He was awarded an open-ended employment contract. Before starting his job, he lived in Southern Finland, so he packed up all his things, gave up his apartment and assumed he would be permanently relocating to Lapland.

When the tourist season ended, the employer instructed Don to take a few months off. However, Don had not accumulated many vacation days. Therefore, he would receive regular pay for his time off but would have to recoup the hours during the winter season.

According to Don’s calculations, that would have meant about 300 extra hours of work in the winter. These extra hours would have been normal hours and no overtime compensation would be paid.

He said he would only agree to take a couple of weeks off. The next morning, the company’s HR manager told Don that his employment contract had been terminated during his probationary period because “he was not fit for the job”.

According to Don, based on the company owner’s stipulation, the practice of compensating overtime by taking time off seemed to be common practice in the company.


A friend of Asian employee Farida was accused of theft during her employment at Kakslauttanen.

The employer claimed that her friend had stolen a bracelet that belonged to a customer. Farida said there was no evidence of any theft.

The women were told that the employer would call the police, who would go through all their belongings.

The police never showed up, but it frightened these employees for a long time.

European employee Julinka was also accused of theft. As a result of this accusation, her employment contract was terminated with immediate effect. Holiday remuneration and remaining salaries were left unpaid.

The same thing happened to Julinka’s roommate earlier in the season. At that time, Julinka had been in their shared apartment when Juhani Eiramo arrived and started to go through the belongings of her roommate who was suspected of committing the theft.

– I called my roommate who was working and asked if she was aware that her stuff was being searched.

When Julinka’s turn came to be accused, she didn’t have the energy to stay and fight for the rest of her money. Instead, she decided to go back to her home country and try to forget Kakslauttanen.

She believes that false accusations were a method used by the company against foreign workers who are less aware of their rights than Finns.

Most of the employees we interviewed also told of an Indian marketing manager who, according to them, treated employees outrageously.

According to Julinka, the woman treated the workers like slaves. She yelled at them in front of customers and spoke to them rudely. She also happened to be the one who accused Farida’s friend of theft.

Maija from Finland who worked for the company during the 2019–2020 season said that if the employees made even a small mistake, the marketing manager came and emptied the tip cup held at the reception desk.

Julinka, who worked at the company a few years earlier, also said that initially, the employees collected the tips they received in a shared cash box, as they were instructed to do.

However, they soon stopped this practice because the Indian lady never returned the tips to them. For the rest of the tourist season, everyone hid their tips in their room.

According to many, the marketing manager was particularly unpleasant towards Asian employees.


Vanida, who worked at Kakslauttanen last winter, said that during her job interview, Juhani Eiramo promised her that transport from the West Village to the food shop would be arranged for employees every Friday.

The distance from Vanida’s accommodation to the closest shop was about 15 kilometres and about 5 kilometres to the nearest bus stop.

Once she arrived at Kakslauttanen, Vanida soon found out there was no such transport provided for employees. After repeated complaints from employees, transportation was eventually organised, but it was subject to a fee and not available every week.

Vanida had to take a taxi to the bus stop with her friends to buy food.

People who worked in other seasons also said it was difficult to leave the remote location of the West Village area in the middle of the forest. In practice, those who did not have their own car were completely stuck at their workplace.

Even if workers ate their own food in the kitchen, Juhani Eiramo came and tried to charge them for the food.

Employees claimed that during some seasons, a meal fee was charged for every working day, regardless of whether the employee ate the meal provided by the employer or not.

The employees interviewed also talked about hygiene problems in Kakslauttanen’s kitchen.

Meat and vegetables were kept in boxes on the floor. Not all kitchen employees had hygiene or alcohol permits.

Juhani Eiramo’s instruction was that the leftovers from the buffet breakfast, which had been on display for hours, should be put in the refrigerator and served to customers the next day. Food was frozen, thawed, and refrozen.

One of the interviewees said he threw the rest of the sausages away after they had been served for the fourth morning. When Juhani Eiramo found out about the fate of the sausages, he threatened to deduct the cost from the employee’s salary.

One employee said they were made to clean the kitchen with others until two in the morning before the health inspection was due to be conducted by authorities the next day.

Many of the employees we interviewed only managed to cope at Kakslauttanen because of their coworkers. The challenging situation fostered strong unity among the workers.

Adela, who was sent back to Asia, and a couple of her friends later returned to Finland. They managed to get new jobs with their work visas that were still valid.

When they worked at Kakslauttanen, they were not members of any trade union. They did not know where to complain about the inappropriate treatment they experienced.

They also heard from their European colleagues that they complained to their trade unions, but nothing happened.

– So we didn’t even try.

Over the years, the friends have wondered how Kakslauttanen can still be operating when we know what is going on there.

According to European employee Julinka, the company took advantage of the fact that many of the workers were far from home.

– The way I was treated was completely inappropriate. Especially in Finland, where the rights of employees are supposed to be in good order.

Laura, a Finn who worked at Kakslauttanen four years ago, says that in her experience, she received reasonably good treatment being a Finnish employee.

However, foreign workers were treated badly. She witnessed shouting and threats directed at colleagues.

– You can go to work there if you are familiar with the collective labour agreement and your legal rights. Otherwise, I would not recommend working there.

Lapin Kansa seven years ago (22.10.2016 and 26.10.2016).
Lapin Kansa 22.10.2016 ja 26.10.2016
Juhani Eiramo denies the allegations
Niina Lavia

Kakslauttanen entrepreneur Juhani Eiramo denies the employees’ reports of mistreatment.

According to him, some of the supervisors at the workplace may occasionally raise their voices, but yelling is not part of Kakslauttanen’s corporate culture today.

Eiramo also said that no one has been threatened with revoking their residence permit or sending them home. Instead, foreign employees are instructed into Finnish culture as part of their induction.

According to Eiramo, speeding or theft have been used as examples of things that could lead to penalties or fines. At the same time, it has been explained to employees that such issues may have an impact on obtaining or renewing a work permit.

Eiramo also denies claims of intruding on employees’ accommodation. According to him, the company operates according to normal landlord practices: rooms and apartments are only entered if the visit has been announced separately.

He verified that the company had received a health inspector’s notice regarding the placing of steel containers on tables or shelves. He refutes all other claims about hygiene problems in the kitchen.

Lapin Kansa also asked Eiramo why permanent employment contracts have been made for employees if only seasonal work is available. Eiramo responded by saying that the work is mainly seasonal, which is the reason why most employees have fixed-term employment contracts.

Last winter, the company employed about a hundred people. According to Eiramo, there were “a few” terminations of the probationary period. The turnover of labour is around 15 per cent during the season, which, according to Eiramo, corresponds to the industry average.

In response to the criticism expressed against the Indian marketing manager, Eiramo states that she worked for the company “for a long time and successfully”. Eiramo said he often speaks “very loudly”, but it’s not a question of yelling.


The company may be guilty of committing criminal offences

According to the professors of labour and criminal law interviewed by Lapin Kansa, Kakslauttanen’s case could be a case of aggravated workplace discrimination or coercion.

According to Terhi Vuorinen, the Detective Inspector of the Lapland Police Department, it is practically impossible for the police to initiate an investigation into potential crimes related to Kakslauttanen based solely on the articles published in Lapin Kansa. In order for cases to be investigated, victims should contact the police directly.

In 2016, Lapin Kansa wrote about Lithuanian workers, who worked at Kakslauttanen for less than three euros per hour. They were not directly employed by Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort but were hired through a temporary agency.

As early as 2014, Lapin Kansa wrote about the atmosphere of fear and yelling at employees in Kakslauttanen. Service Union United PAM reported that it had received numerous contacts from the employees of the company that operated under the name Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. The employees reported, among other things, yelling and delaying the payment of wages.

Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort Oy

A company established by Juhani “Jussi” Eiramo exactly 50 years ago.

The company reportedly built Lapland’s first glass igloos more than twenty years ago.

The Kakslauttanen igloo village is now internationally renowned as being the flagship of nature tourism in Lapland. According to Eiramo, over a billion people have seen the aerial image of the company’s glass igloos.

The company has two tourist resorts in Sodankylä: the older East Village and the newer West Village.

According to the financial statements, seven permanent employees were employed in the company during the financial year ending in summer 2022.

During the winter, about a hundred people worked for the company. Almost all employees are foreigners.

In December 2020, Eiramo was convicted of aggravated environmental degradation for the harm it caused to the environment. The verdict came because his company had burned hundreds of tons of construction waste on the land owned by Metsähallitus over a period of many years.

The Lapland Association of The Federation of Finnish Enterprises (Suomen Yrittäjät) awarded Juhani Eiramo the title of Entrepreneur of the Year in September 2020.