Finnish forest industry is building future growth

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The Finnish forest industry is building a new kind of cooperation to enable business growth and future investments in Finland. The renewal of the industry requires safeguarding the Finnish national interests in the EU, implementing Finland’s carbon neutrality goal in a way that safeguards competitiveness, and structural reforming of collective bargaining.

The Board of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation (FFIF) has today decided on a working life reform, which is part of the industry’s updated strategy. FFIF will discontinue collective bargaining in the Finnish labour market. The decision will in future shift the responsibility of bargaining to member companies.

“We are building a new culture of dialogue, because we want Finland and the Finnish forest industry to succeed in the future as well. The different needs of companies in different situations can be better met when employment terms and conditions are decided upon at the company and product group level, says Mr. Ilkka Hämälä, Chairman of the Board of FFIF, President and CEO of Metsä Group.

In the future, companies can agree with their staff on salaries, shifts and any working conditions that are not otherwise restricted by law. Companies design and build new ways of agreeing from their own standpoint and respect the right of their employees to organize from their own point of view. Freedom of association or trade union activity will not be affected by the reform.

“The personnel in the forest industry are committed and world-class in terms of professionalism. The various business situations are best understood and answered within the companies and inside factory gates”, Hämälä emphasizes.

The reform is based on FFIF’s long-term goal of the structural development of collective agreements. This goal has not been met over the recent federal negotiation rounds or during the previous centralized negotiation system. A nationwide, inter-organizational contract system responds poorly to the needs of companies in different market and economic situations, in diverse business areas and individual factories.

The transition period for the reform is long, as the industry’s current collective agreements are valid for 15-27 months, depending on the sector. FFIF is responsible as a contracting party to the current collective agreements until their termination.

Renewal is a part of growth-oriented Responsible solutions and Welfare -strategy

The working life reform is part of FFIF’s growth-oriented Responsible Solutions and Welfare -strategy. The industry wants to ensure the success of the Finnish and Finnish forest industries. In the world of climate change, the growth opportunities of the forest industry are significant – the climate benefits offered by Finnish companies’ wood-based products are considerable.

–Finland must ensure that EU climate law considers the climate benefits of wood processing and bio-based products. It is important for us nationally to ensure that the opportunities offered by our country’s forests are not limited by the EU, Hämälä says.

Products from the forest industry can increasingly replace products that are harmful to the climate, which is also crucial in achieving Finland’s 2035 carbon neutrality goal. For its part, the forest industry is committed to implementing its climate roadmap and making its production in Finland practically emission-free by 2035. Implementing the climate roadmap requires decisions that strengthen competitiveness and enhance the growth of Finnish forests.

The forest industry has more than 150 factories in Finland, which employ approximately 140,000 people in an extensive domestic value chain. The industry accounts for about one-fifth of country’s exports of goods, which totals an annual export revenue of almost EUR 13 billion. The forest industry with its indirect effects pays about EUR 3.9 billion in tax revenue to the Finnish society. In 2015–2020, the forest industry has invested EUR 3.4 billion in Finland.

Additional information

Timo Jaatinen

Director General

+358 9132 6600