Shop stewards demand action at UPM Communication Papers

Communication Papers: biggest unit lost money last year
Communication Papers: biggest unit lost money last year

Chief shop stewards at UPM businesses have written an open letter to the firm’s CEO demanding that negotiations to resolve long-running strike action should be resumed immediately at its Communication Papers business.

Last weekend it emerged that talks had stalled at Communication Papers, which is €9.8bn (£8.16bn) turnover UPM’s biggest division. 

In the letter sent to CEO Jussi Pesonen, executive VP for human resources Riitta Savonlahti, VP of labour markets Jyrki Hollmén, and Antti Hermonen, general manager of UPM Jämsä River Mills, the six shop stewards said that a rapid solution needed to be found for the impasse.

“The negotiators of the Paper Union have worked tirelessly to protect the interests of the employees, to make the industry more attractive and to work together to agree on the collective agreements of the employees we represent,” the shop stewards stated. 

“Despite the difficulties, solutions have been found. We, UPM's allied paper shop stewards, cannot accept that Communication Papers is still without a contractual solution. We demand that negotiations be resumed immediately so that an agreement can be reached before tomorrow's deadline and that all settlement proposals can be approved at the same time,” they said. 

There has been positive progress at other UPM businesses affected by the strike action at its Finnish operations. 

Yesterday evening (12 April), conciliator Leo Suomaa submitted a proposal for UPM Biofuels. 

That joined the proposals he has already put forward at UPM Raflatac and UPM Specialty Papers, and at UPM Pulp.

The Paperworkers' Union has been asked to submit its responses to the proposals by tomorrow morning (14 April) by 10am Finnish time (correction: 8am UK time).

The chief shop stewards behind the letter are: Jouko Aitonurmi from UPM Rauma, Timo Hietanen at UPM Communication Papers Jämsänkoski, Jari Note of UPM Communication Papers Kymi, Kari Rikkilä from UPM Kymi, Sauli Tiala at UPM Pietarsaari and Pertti Niemi from UPM Raflatac Tampere.

UPM’s Communication Papers division had sales of just under €3.58bn (£3bn) last year and was UPM’s biggest business unit, but also the only division to make a loss, and was in the red to the tune of €79m at the EBIT level.

The strike action has now reached day 103, and is causing massive problems across European graphic paper and label substrate supply chains. The union believes it is costing UPM around €20m a week.