Members of the Paperworkers’ Union, the Finnish Electrical Workers´ Union and the Trade Union Pro have this morning started strikes at UPM mills in Jämsänkoski, Kouvola, Lappeenranta, Pietarsaari, Rauma, Tampere and Valkeakoski. According to the unions, the strikes will continue until 6 o’clock on 22 January 2022 unless a new collective labour agreement is reached before that. The Paperworkers’ Union has not exclude any work from the strike, not even tasks critical to the society, such as operating and maintenance of water treatment and power plants.
UPM businesses falling under the strikes are UPM Pulp, UPM Biofuels, UPM Communication Papers, UPM Specialty Papers and UPM Raflatac. The strikes do not concern UPM Plywood and UPM Timber, both of which signed business specific collective agreements with the Industrial Union in December. Furthermore, UPM Energy operates as usual, as it complies with the generally applied collective agreements of the energy industry.
Previous collective agreements between the Finnish Forest Industries Federation and the Paperworkers’ Union, the Finnish Electrical Workers´ Union and the Trade Union Pro expired on 31 December and do not have after-effect, as UPM was not a party in the agreements. Since last spring, UPM has tried to initiate negotiations with the Paperworkers’ Union with no response. As there has not been opportunities to discuss terms of employment, UPM businesses announced temporary terms of labour to the members of the union in November. These terms are in effect until a new agreement will be reached.
UPM businesses under the strike will pay additional fixed-term compensation to those who come to work at mills and do extra work because of the strike. Together, the regular salaries and the fixed-term compensation exceed the salary level of the expired collective agreement.
“UPM’s goal remains the same – we want to negotiate business specific collective agreements with the Paperworkers’ Union as soon as possible. The only way forward is through negotiations,” says Jyrki Hollmén, Vice President, Labour Markets, UPM.
“UPM businesses differ significantly from each other in terms of products, production processes, markets and revenue models. Therefore, it is vital for their competitiveness to make business specific collective agreements,” Hollmén continues.
Another goal for UPM is to involve a much larger group of people in the negotiations than before. In addition to the union representatives and business management, local employee representatives would also be involved, bringing much-needed understanding of the business and the everyday work at the mills into the discussions, as was the case in the negotiations between The Industrial Union and UPM Plywood and UPM Timber. UPM aims to be an attractive employer that negotiates win-win agreements enabling UPM businesses to succeed in the future.
So far, negotiations have begun only in UPM Biofuels, but they were interrupted by the Paperworkers’ Union just before Christmas.
UPM will service its customers from its mills located outside of Finland to the extent possible. At this point, UPM does not disclose estimates of the economic impacts of the strikes.