Finnish Paperworkers Union Mulls Strike Against Stora Enso

Jan. 18, 2008 - The Finnish Paperworkers Union at a meeting in Kemijärvi is mulling the possibility of a strike against Stora Enso after the company said it would close its Kemijärvi pulp mill and Summa paper mill, according to Finnish News Agency (STT).

Both mills are in Finland.

"We are going to use every required measure to render matters sensible, that is, keep the Kemijärvi and Summa facilities running and preserve the jobs," said Jouko Ahonen, the chairman of the union.

The Kemijärvi pulp mill employs 240 people and has an annual capacity of 250,000 tons of softwood pulp. It is scheduled to be closed in the second quarter of 2008.

The Summa Mill, with annual capacity 415,000 tons of newsprint, uncoated magazine paper and book paper, employs 500 workers and is slated for closure during the first quarter of 2008.

Ahonen says the Finnish government is at fault for not having applied pressure on Stora Enso.

"In telecommunications companies, owner guidance has been used in smaller issues than the one at hand here. The government bears the responsibility for making sure that a company in which the state is a major stakeholder does not cause a radical growth in regional unemployment."

Matti Vanhanen, the Finnish prime minister, told STT during his U.S. visit in Seattle [yesterday] that he regarded the decision by Stora Enso to close two mills and a paper machine in Finland as "extremely regrettable."

He added the decision was a telltale sign of the severe difficulties faced by the Finnish wood-processing industry.

"No one wants to make these decisions voluntarily," Vanhanen said.

The prime minister further stated that Finland should find replacement industries to exploit the country's wood resources.

He promised to return to the matter once back in Finland on Sunday.

SOURCE: Finnish News Agency (STT)

See related stories:
- Stora Enso Insists Mills Must Be Closed (1/17)
- Stora Enso to Make Sweeping Capacity, Personnel Cuts (10/25/07)

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