Employers accept the proposal by the National Conciliator: Continuously strengthening the competitiveness of the pulp and paper industry is important

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The Finnish Forest Industries Federation (FFIF), which represents the pulp and paper industry employers, has decided to accept the National Conciliator’s proposal for a settlement in the labour market dispute. The National Conciliator gave his proposal on June 1, 2005 and the labour market parties are due to give their answers by 5.00 pm today.

"The three year agreement, terminating at the end of May 2008, would ensure a stable labour market environment for the development of the Finnish pulp and paper industry. However, the National Conciliator’s proposal only partly supports our efforts to strengthen the competitiveness of the paper industry and update operating methods in the rapidly changing environment," says Mr. Timo Poranen, President of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

"The proposal includes a way of keeping the pulp and paper mills running during Christmas and Midsummer, which is favourable for business. This would support efforts to strengthen the competitiveness of our industry and give it the same opportunities as our competitors. Our target is to have at least some of the mills running in time for Midsummer," continues Mr. Poranen.

From the point of view of competitiveness, it is discouraging that the pulp and paper industry’s procedures for dealing with absenteeism issues such as medical certificates in case of illness, differ from other industries in Finland. The Finnish paper industry suffers from considerable costs caused by absenteeism.

The National Conciliator’s settlement proposal does not give the pulp and paper industry the flexible subcontracting opportunities that other industries already have in Finland. The National Conciliator only proposed that disputes on subcontracting issues might be solved by a committee. 

The proposed salary and wage increases are well in line with the general incomes policy settlement entered into by Finnish industry last December.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Timo Poranen, President, Finnish Forest Industries Federation, tel. +358 9 132 6600