Finnish Paper Workers Agree to New Labor Pact

April 15, 2008 - The Finnish Forest Industries Federation (FFIF) and the Finnish Paper Workers' Union last week finalized a new collective agreement covering paper industry workers.

The new labor deal is effective June 1, 2008 - March 31, 2010, FFIF said.

According to FFIF, wages will rise by about 4% at the annual level, the pay system will be reformed and workers' job security will be improved in the face of restructuring.

The paper industry will adopt a new pay system that will promote multiskilled jobs. The pay system will provide opportunities and incentives to diversify tasks and encourage to acquire broadly-based competence with the help of personal training plans. The new pay system will improve the labor usage and support business operations.

The new collective agreement includes cent and euro wage increases and will raise costs by about 4% a year. The new agreement also contains solutions that will allow the adoption of flexible working hours, increase occupational well-being and strengthen job security in restructuring situations.

"In my opinion the solution is well balanced and genuinely takes both sides' views into consideration," said Jouko Ahonen, president of the Finnish Paper Workers' Union. "The agreement also includes numerous positive changes in workers' conditions of employment. One important goal of the agreement is to increase real cooperation at the confederation and local level. I also consider it positive that we were able to reach an agreement in good time before the expiration of the current agreement, without outside assistance and without confrontation."

Jari Forss, senior vice president, Labor Market at FFIF, said, "Together with the Paper Workers' Union we have achieved an important agreement that will support the paper industry's ability to react to market changes as well as the broad development of workers' competence. The new pay system will improve future possibilities for both employers and workers. This is a step in the right direction and provides a good basis on which to continue the development together with the Paper Workers’ Union."

The existing collective agreement expires at the end of May 2008.

SOURCE: Finnish Forest Industries Federation

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