Employers use lockout to stop continuous shutdowns

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Paper companies are continuing the lockout that started on 18th May for another two weeks. They want to ensure that an overtime ban and illegal strikes by the Finnish Paperworkers’ Union will not cause continuous shutdowns of the pulp and paper machines again after a two-week-lockout. The mills will be closed until 15th June if the parties have not concluded a competitive collective labour agreement by then.

"The employers have no choice. The only option is to keep the mills shut.  The overtime ban and illegal strikes by the Finnish Paperworkers’ Union are causing situations which are out of control and thus increase the risks of environmental damage and machine breakdowns. In addition, it is difficult to maintain the quality of paper because of the shutdowns," says Mr. Timo Poranen, President, Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

To shut down and start up a paper machine takes about 1-4 shifts (8-24 hours), depending on the paper grade and length of the stoppage. After a start-up it is often hours before the quality of paper is good enough to be delivered to the customer. The papermaking process is very vulnerable and cannot tolerate any changes.  For example, it is of the utmost importance for the functioning of a biological treatment plant that it is supplied with a constant flow of water.

The effect of the lockout is the same both on the employers and employees because it stops the mills’ income and employees’ salaries, whereas an overtime ban and illegal strikes stop the mills but the employees are paid.

"Both parties are responsible for reaching a solution. The forest industry wants as soon as possible to go on negotiating a collective agreement which supports the competitiveness of the paper industry," says Poranen.

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation wants to abolish compulsory stoppages at Christmas and Midsummer as well as the limitations on using subcontracting because they increase competitiveness and operating potential in Finland.

"We want only equal operating opportunities compared with the paper industry in other countries," Poranen points out.

For more information, please contact

Mr. Timo Poranen, President, Finnish Forest Industries Federation
tel. +358 9 132 6600, name.surname@forestindustries.fi

Mr. Arto Tähtinen, Senior Vice President, Labour Market Policy, Finnish Forest Industries Federation
tel. +358 9 132 4442, name.surname@forestindustries.fi