Finnish paper mill strikes over

The strikes at paper mills in Finland have come to an end after a collective bargaining agreement was reached yesterday afternoon.

Paper mill workers' salaries will increase by 3.3% on average
Paper mill workers' salaries will increase by 3.3% on average

9,000 paper mill workers went on strike two weeks ago after pay talks broke down.

After two weeks of no progress, and with the threat of the strikes moving into a fourth week, the ongoing mediation of the labour dispute between paper union Paperiliitto and the Finnish Forest Industries Federation resumed yesterday and both sides approved the proposal made on Sunday by national mediator Vuokko Piekkala.

The National Conciliator’s Office said “all work stoppages related to labour disputes end immediately” following the agreement by both sides. Employees will return to the next shift in their schedule.

Under the terms of the new contracts, salaries will increase by 3.3% on average over a 25-month period.

The deal also eliminates ‘kiky hours’, additional unpaid work added to most contracts in 2016 by government order, which will be compensated for in other ways, including reducing the shutdown of mills in June during the Midsummer holiday by 24 hours.

The new collective bargaining agreement will be valid until 31 December 2021.

In a statement, the Finnish Forest Industries Federation described the changes as “a step in the right direction” but said they are “inadequate for ensuring the international competitiveness of Finnish factories”.

Companies affected by the shutdowns included UPM-Kymmene, Stora Enso and Metsä Board, and the impact was starting to be felt in the UK market last week, with reports from merchants of delays on paper from Finnish manufacturers and extended lead times where customers looked to source alternatives.


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