Finnish forest industry is renewed through structural changes and innovations

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At the same time, the industry is investing in R&D and innovations in order to re-establish its competitive advantages.

 “The forest industry must, in these highly competitive circumstances, look for new ways and means of
operating. Industry has to maximise the benefits available  from  new  technologies, and  create  local and
global production networks. Vocational training should fortify the  ability  of  employees  to  handle  a  wide  range of different jobs, while university education should be honed to ensure that training and teaching coincide more closely with the forest industry’s future needs”, says the Finnish Forest Industries Federation’s President and CEO, Dr. Anne
Brunila
.

Cooperative effort from all the parties involved is needed for developing  new  operating 
models  to enhance the competitiveness in our industry.
It would be a mistake to remain passively
watching developments from the sidelines, since this would pose a threat to jobs to an increasing extent
”, she points out.

”Over the past few weeks new collective agreements have been signed in various sectors of the forest industry. With the exception of the paper sector’s collective agreement, several measures improving productivity and flexibility have been agreed on in addition to pay increases.”

In the paper industry, which in Finland is now facing major structural changes, it is important to start discussing a reform  of collective agreement. The Paper Workers’ Union and the forest industry have an important task ahead of them which should not be left until the last minute,” warns Brunila. The current paper industry collective agreement expires at the end of May 2008. 

Finland’s pulp, paper and wood product industry employs over 60,000 people.  In addition, companies 
in the sector bear responsibility for over 60,000 employees in other countries.  Changes   among   employees   in   the   pulp and paper industry in particular are rare. Salaries are well above the industrial average. The industry has traditionally not used temporary lay-offs but has been able to offer jobs for almost a whole working life-time.