Finland: Employees of the Finnish paper mill UPM have started a strike to enforce a new agreement

Madrid, 1 (European Press)

Several factories of the Finnish paper mill UPM have ceased operations due to a strike by employees called by unions to force a new labor agreement after the previous agreement expired on January 31.

The company itself said in a statement that it “hopes to be able to start negotiations” with unions: the Paper Workers Union, the Electricity Workers Union of Finland and Union Pro.

The strike is already affecting the factories of Jämsänkoski, Kouvola, Lappeenranta, Pietarsaari, Rauma, Tampere and Valkeakoski and will continue until 6am on January 22 unless a new agreement is reached.

The paper workers union does not rule out the performance of minimal services for critical tasks such as maintenance of water treatment or power plants.

Two of the UPM Group’s subsidiaries were unaffected by the signing of separate agreements in December, but five others were. The eighth subsidiary, UPM Energy, is subject to the Energy Sector Collective Agreement and does not have to renew its own agreement.

The company asserts that “since spring UPM has attempted to initiate negotiations with the paper workers union without a response” and announced in November a new interim framework that will be in effect until a new agreement is reached.

But unions blame the company for withdrawing from negotiations a year ago and for wanting to “impose” its terms rather than negotiate.

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