Finnish Paper Workers Strike Ended

Good news for paper buyers: An agreement was reached Wednesday between the Finnish Forest Industries Federation (FFIF) and the Finnish Paperworkers Union, ending the labor dispute that had shut down mill operations in Finland since May 18, affecting paper suppliers such as Stora Enso and UPM-Kymmene Group.

According to an FFIF press release, the agreement, negotiated on the basis of the National Conciliator’s second proposal for a settlement in the labor dispute, will be applied to 24,000 paper workers. The agreement is subject to final approval by the executive committee of FFIF and the National Council of the Paperworkers Union.

No details of the agreement have been released, but “the proposed salary and wage increases are in line with the general incomes policy settlement,” the release stated.

The dispute, which began in November, when the forest industry turned down a collective bargaining pact between employers’ organizations and unions, had tightened the world’s supply of coated groundwood sheets, contributing to rising paper prices. Finland accounts for 22%-24% of the combined North American and European capacity for coated groundwood, including coated #4 and #5 grades, and 14% of coated freesheet, such as coated #1, #2, and #3 grades, according to Bedford, MA-based forest industry research group RISI.

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