New terms and conditions of employment do not improve competitiveness of the forest industry; A 24-hour increase in operating time for paper, paperboard and pulp mills during midsummer

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An agreement was reached regarding the new terms and conditions of employment for paper, paperboard and pulp mills as Finnish Forest Industries and Paperiliitto ry accepted the National Conciliator’s proposal. The agreement does not improve the cost competitiveness of Finnish production, but the so-called competitiveness pact hours will be replaced by an additional 24 hours of operation time at midsummer, which is more convenient for mills.

The terms and conditions of employment accepted by Finnish Forest Industries and Paperiliitto r.y. do not improve the competitiveness of the Finnish paper, paperboard and pulp industry. However, so-called competitiveness pact hours will be replaced with an arrangement that is more convenient for operations and production.

“We did achieve a better solution for the competitiveness pact hours as operating time is increased by 24 hours. That gives mills the benefit of an additional 24 hours of production,” says Finnish Forest Industries’ Labour Market Director Jyrki Hollmén.

The 24-hour increase of annual operating time for paper, paperboard and pulp mills will be achieved by shortening the midsummer shutdown. The cost of work during the shutdown will decrease because no additional compensations will be paid for the additional hours. In addition, the agreement includes other text changes which affect the organisation of mills’ production and the cost of labour.

“The changes are a step in the right direction but are insufficient for the international competitiveness of Finnish mills. If we want to protect the future of Finnish production, we must speed up the structural development of the terms and conditions of employment in the coming years,” says Hollmén.

Finnish Forest Industries still aims to decrease the shutdown costs of paper, paperboard and pulp mills to the level of other domestic export industries as well as to establish terms for using external labour similar to those of other export industries. In the coming years, it will also be important to simplify the working hours and compensation systems of the collective agreement.

“It is exceptional that Paperiliitto drove its members to an unnecessary strike during the negotiations. Finnish Forest Industries initiated talks already in the spring and it was fully possible for all parties to reach a similar result while maintaining industrial peace,” adds Hollmén.

The wage settlement in the agreement is 3.3 per cent for the 25-month agreement period, which ends on 31 December 2021. The first 12-cent general increase and the 11-cent local increase come into effect on 30 March 2020. The second 17-cent general increase and the 17-cent local increase come into effect on 1 March 2021.

Agreement on terms and conditions of employment signifies the end of the Paperiliitto strikes that lasted for over two weeks, and production in paper, paperboard and pulp mills will start as soon as possible. The lockout of members of Paperiliitto that Finnish Forest Industries implemented in 12 mills will also end.

However, the Industrial union strike continues into its third week at the sawmills and plywood mills of the mechanical forest industry. Finnish Forest Industries aims to reach terms and conditions of employment for sawmills and plywood mills that will improve cost competitiveness.

 

Further information

Jyrki Hollmén, Labour Market Director, Finnish Forest Industries tel. +358 (0)40 746 3687