New collective labour agreement for the paper industry – productivity enhancement must continue

Press releases |

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation and the Finnish Paper Workers’ Union have today Friday 1 July approved the negotiation result on collective labour agreement for the employees of the paper industry. The agreement becomes effective at once and it applies to about 24,000 workers. A collective labour agreement for the paper industry’s white-collar employees received also the final seal of approval on Thursday 30 June. Pulp and paper machines will gradually start up tonight. Production should reach normal levels at all factories within a week.

"The labour agreement supports the development of the Finnish paper industry’s competitiveness, provides new opportunities to renew the practices of the sector and stabilises operating conditions in a rapidly changing business environment. Progress was made in matters that are most vital to improving the industry’s operating conditions, such as increasing the level of local negotiations," says Timo Poranen, President of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

"Developing Finland’s forest industry at the top of the world is demanding work. It cannot be done without a competent workforce, nor is it possible if competitiveness is left untended. Future success calls for additional work and the implementation of the modernisations now agreed," he adds.

The new three-year agreement allows for paper machines to be operated all year, thus increasing productivity. It will also make it possible to arrange maintenance at factories according to the needs of production operations and market demands. 

Subcontracting, which is needed to develop our competitiveness, will be subject to local negotiations. The new agreement ensures that any disputes will be dealt with impartially.

Pay increases match those of the national income policy agreement. Hourly wages will increase by an average of 2.5% this year and by a further 1.9% in June 2006.

A new working time model for 3-shift work that, according to studies, increases the wellbeing of employees may now be taken into use. During holiday periods it is possible to locally agree on the adoption of a 4-shift system, which decreases the manning of production and enables one shift to take their holidays at the same time. Paper processing factories may also locally negotiate about weekend work.

Our dialogue with the Finnish Paper Workers’ Union on working time issues is continuing. The parties have established a working group to examine questions related to the adoption of a working time bank, how annual leave should be allocated in compliance with the Annual Holidays Act and how the working time reductions (8 hours for employees working 3 shifts and 4 hours for those working 8-hour days) now agreed should be implemented.

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation and the Finnish Paper Workers’ Union are commencing a dialogue on challenges related to future competitiveness. The working group will include outside experts. 

For more information, please contact:

Timo Poranen, President, Finnish Forest Industries Federation,
tel. +358 9 132 6600, firstname.lastname@forestindustries.fi

Arto Tähtinen, Director, Labour Market Policy, Finnish Forest Industries Federation, tel. +358 9 132 4442, firstname.lastname@forestindustries.fi