Threat of further extension to UPM strike

Strike action at UPM is causing ructions across the European print industry
Strike action at UPM is causing ructions across the European print industry

The long-running strike action at UPM’s Finnish mills could be extended for a fourth time – into April – unless the parties reach agreement.

Today (24 February), UPM issued an update which stated that “intense negotiations” were ongoing between the group and the Paperworkers’ Union, but the union had announced a three-week extension to the strike, until 2 April, unless new collective labour agreements are reached before that.

The latest turn of events will be of huge concern across the European printing industry, with industry bodies already warning about the damaging effect of the strike on supply chains, materials availability, and in particular in labelling.

The strike is already believed to be the longest in the history of Finnish paper workers, according to the union.

Jyrki Hollmén, vice president of labour markets at UPM, stated: “In recent weeks the parties have negotiated both in the presence of the National Conciliator as well as in one-on-one negotiations. The parties now are familiar with each other’s objectives, so the negotiators have the chance to bargain and reach business-specific agreements.”

He added: “Intense negotiations will continue. We call for rapid progress and spirit of compromise, so we can find satisfactory solutions for all parties and start our mills again.”

Hollmén said that UPM businesses were “doing their best to advance an open dialogue between the negotiating parties”.

The Paperworkers’ Union’s strike involves UPM Pulp, UPM Biofuels, UPM Communication Papers, UPM Specialty Papers and UPM Raflatac units in Finland.

UPM has still declined to put a price tag on the disruption, which some estimates have put at as much as €20m (£16.7m) a week.