The Finnish Forest Industries Federation imposes a lockout at sawmills and plywood factories; The ball is now in the Industrial Union’s court

Press releases |

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation has decided to impose a six-day lockout at sawmills and plywood factories to expedite the Industrial Union’s return to the negotiation table. The employee side has been unwilling to engage in genuine negotiations about the collective labour agreement, instead resorting to strikes to demand shorter working hours.

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation has decided to impose a lockout in the mechanical forest industry on employees who are members of the Industrial Union. The six-day lockout will begin at the conclusion of the Industrial Union’s three-day strike on 12 December and end on 18 December.
The Industrial Union took the unusual decision to terminate negotiations regarding the collective labour agreement for the mechanical forest industry more than a week before the end of the term of the agreement and in the middle of the negotiation process that had been scheduled by the parties together. The Industrial Union followed the termination of negotiations almost immediately by announcing a three- day strike in the mechanical forest industry on 9–11 December.
“The actions taken by the Industrial Union indicate a complete unwillingness to reach an agreement on new terms of employment. The lockout is a form of industrial action comparable to the strike, and our goal for the lockout is the resumption of negotiations,” says Labour Market Director Jyrki Hollmén from the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.
The lockout means that the employees who are members of the Industrial Union will not be admitted to their workplaces at sawmills and plywood factories and the payment of their wages will be suspended. The lockout will be imposed at the operating locations of the member companies of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation that the Industrial Union has announced as the locations of its strike action on 9–11 December.
The lockout will take place at the production facilities of Metsä Group, Pölkky, Stora Enso, UPM and Versowood across Finland. The lockout concerns a total of 32 sawmills, plywood factories, laminated veneer lumber factories and glued laminated timber factories that account for an estimated half of the industry’s total annual output of EUR 3.2 billion.
“The lockout puts the ball in the Industrial Union’s court and gives the Union a chance to think things over. The Finnish Forest Industries Federation is prepared to quickly resume negotiations to reach an agreement on collective terms of employment that will enhance the global competitiveness of Finnish production,” Hollmén points out.
In a declining economic cycle, the collective labour agreement can significantly influence the cost competitiveness of Finnish production and the viability of the factories. Finnish sawmills and plywood factories compete with producers in countries with substantially lower costs, such as the Baltic countries, Poland and Russia. Compared to Estonia, for example, the labour costs of Finnish plywood factories are about three times higher.