The Paperworkers’ Union to Continue its Strike in UPM Mills

The Finnish Paperworkers’ Union has issued a new strike announcement to UPM, declaring that their strike at UPM’s Finnish mills will be extended by two weeks until 5 February 2022, unless new agreements are reached before that. The Paperworkers’ Union’s strike at UPM Pulp, UPM Biofuels, UPM Communication Papers, UPM Specialty Papers and UPM Raflatac units in Finland started 1 January 2022.

“If the members of the Paperworkers’ Union want to continue the strike, they naturally have every right to do so. UPM’s goal continues to be to start business specific negotiations with the union as soon as possible. Negotiations are the only way forward. It is important that the negotiations for new agreements begin with a forward-looking mindset and determination to find the best solution for each business and its personnel” says Jyrki Hollmén, Vice President, Labour Markets at UPM.

Just before the strike started, UPM received from the Paperworkers’ Union an email proposal for a new collective labour agreement, without any prior negotiation contact. The proposal was practically the same old collective agreement, which expired at the end of 2021. UPM, however, aims to have genuine interactive negotiations on the new terms of labour.

What is exceptional in the strike announcements of the Paperworkers’ Union is, that tasks critical to the society have not been excluded from the strike. Even if the negotiations had not even been started, the union announced during the autumn that during the possible strike tasks critical to the society can only be carried out under the old agreement. “The exceptional procedure indicates that Paperworkers’ Union uses the tasks critical to society as a Trojan horse, trying to bind UPM to the expired agreement by every means possible” says Hollmén.

Well before the strike, UPM announced an additional fixed-term compensation to those who come to work at mills and do extra work because of the strike. With this initiative UPM wanted to ensure that wages are not a reason for an employee to refrain from tasks critical to society. UPM’s aim is to minimise the effects of the strikes to outside parties.

UPM will service its customers from its mills outside of Finland to the extent possible. At this point, UPM does not disclose estimates of the economic impacts of the strikes.

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