Strikes shut UPM pulp and paper mills in Finland

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Rolls of magazine paper are seen in UPM-Kymmene's paper mill in Kazier, Lappeenranta, Finland, March 9, 2016. Reuters / Jussi Rosendahl

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Around 3,000 workers at Finnish forest group UPM went on strike on Saturday and closed plants, the company said on Saturday.

Three paperworkers, senior executives and electricians' unions had previously warned that they would go on strike if a new agreement on wages and working conditions was not reached before the previous agreement ended on December 31.

UPM, along with other forest employers, ended collective bargaining a year ago, stating that the industry wants to improve profitability by looking for alternative ways to reconcile wages and working conditions.

While workers required UPM to sign a company-wide employment contract, the company pushed for business-specific agreements and signed them with its plywood and wood departments.

Workers in UPM's pulp, paper and biofuel businesses said UPM wanted to dictate new terms rather than negotiate, the three unions said.

The strike will end on January 22, unless an agreement is reached beforehand, the unions said in separate statements.

Inderes analyst Antti Viljakainen told Reuters that UPM could expect the cost to be at least double the € 30 million ($ 34 million) caused by an earlier 2020 strike.

UPM rival Stora Enso (OTC 🙂 has signed a company-wide agreement with the unions.

($ 1 = 0.8797 euros)

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