Tuesday, 04 Feb 2020 11:25 GMT

Finland paper strike extended

Paper mill strikes in Finland which began on Monday 27th January, have been extended for an additional three weeks, as the sector’s trade union struggles to reach an agreement over pay.

For the last week, well-known forest groups including UPM and Stora Enso have not been operating their paper mills.

This is because of an ongoing negotiation between Paperiliitto, Finland’s paper industry trade union, and the Finnish Forest Industries Federation (FFIF) over collective bargaining agreements regarding pay.

In a statement released yesterday (February 3rd), the union says: “It is of primary importance to the Paper Union to care for its members and their future as part of the vitality of the industry.

“However, the Alliance does not want to undermine the collective bargaining agreement at the expense of competitiveness, as the sector must continue to be able to attract new skilled workers to the sector in the coming years.

Collective bargaining not only determines pay, but also the terms and conditions of employment that help workers to survive, recover and be productive, despite heavy working hours

“Collective bargaining not only determines pay, but also the terms and conditions of employment that help workers to survive, recover and be productive, despite heavy working hours.”

In Finland, collective labour agreements are valid universally, providing half of the workforce in one sector are union members and support the agreement. While an agreement does not prevent higher wages and benefits, it secures a legal minimum, much like the minimum wage.

The statement continues: “The Paper TES Advisory Board regrets that no progress has been made. The FFIF has stalled its own policies and is reluctant to seek mutually satisfactory solutions. The Tes Advisory Committee therefore left a strike on Sunday on the fourth strike week to speed up the negotiations.

The Paper TES Advisory Board regrets that no progress has been made. The FFIF has stalled its own policies and is reluctant to seek mutually satisfactory solutions

“The on-going strike will continue until February 24th. The strike includes member companies of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation and other companies that follow a collective agreement in the paper industry.”

The negotiating parties met yesterday in the office of the National Mediator. According to the TES Advisory Board of the Paper Association, a “new common approach” was found. This is expected to continue to be developed over the coming days.

A total of 12 pulp, paper and cardboard mills comprising of around 9,000 union members have been brought to a halt as negotiations continue.



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