Strikes shut down UPM pulp and paper mills in Finland

Rolls of magazine paper are seen at the UPM-Kymmene paper mill in Kaukas, Lappeenranta, Finland, March 9, 2016. Reuters / Jussi Rosendahl

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HELSINKI, Jan.1 (Reuters) – Some 3,000 workers at Finnish forestry group UPM went on strike on Saturday, closing factories, the company said on Saturday.

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

UPM abandoned collective bargaining a year ago with other forestry employers, saying the industry wants to improve profitability by looking for other ways to agree on wages and working conditions.

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While workers demanded that UPM sign a company-wide labor agreement, the company pushed for company-specific agreements and signed them with its plywood and lumber divisions.

Workers at UPM’s pulp, paper and biofuel companies said UPM wanted to dictate new terms instead of negotiating, the three unions said.

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

Inderes analyst Antti Viljakainen earlier told Reuters that UPM could expect the cost to be at least twice as much as the 30 million euros ($ 34 million) caused by a previous strike in 2020.

UPM rival Stora Enso (STERV.HE) has signed a company agreement with the workers’ unions.

($ 1 = 0.8797 euros)

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Report by Essi Lehto, edited by Louise Heavens

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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