HELSINKI – Plants at UPM-Kymmene could face a workers strike as the forestry firm has not agreed to discuss proposals on a new labour agreement, Finland’s Pro trade union said on Friday.
The current collective agreement negotiated by the union will end on Dec. 31 and the company has responded negatively to all invitations to discuss new conditions, Pro said in a statement.
UPM responded by saying it would not sign another collective agreement with Pro and added it hopes union members come to work despite Pro’s announcement.
Pro is the second workers union to warn of a strike. On Tuesday the Finnish paper workers union said it planned to begin a three-week strike at UPM mills in Finland starting Jan. 1.
“Just the paper workers on strike would mean all Finnish plants would need to be shut down,” Inderes analyst Antti Viljakainen told Reuters, noting the strike would have a bigger impact on UPM’s results than a previous strike did.
After strikes in 2020 which closed UPM’s pulp and paper mills for two weeks and its plywood and timber mills for four, UPM estimated the cost at 30 million euros.
“They can roughly at least double that figure since the pulp market is so good now,” Viljakainen said.
The strike will begin on Jan. 1 and last until Jan. 22, provided new working conditions are not settled beforehand, Pro and the paper workers union have said.
Around 700 employees would take part, a Pro spokesperson told Reuters, adding to 2,200 from the paper workers union.
The Finnish Forest Industries Federation representing employers decided in 2020 it would exit collective agreements, and working conditions would be negotiated on a company level once ongoing agreements ended.
UPM rival Stora Enso signed company-specific collective agreements in October with both Pro and the paper workers union.
(Reporting by Essi Lehto and Boleslaw Lasocki; editing by Jason Neely)