Strikes shut down UPM pulp and paper plants in Finland

Some 3,000 workers at Finnish forestry group UPM went on strike on Saturday, shutting plants, the company said on Saturday.

Three unions representing paper workers, managerial staff and electricians had previously warned they would strike if a new agreement about wages and working conditions was not reached before the previous agreement ended on Dec. 31.

UPM quit collective bargaining a year ago together with other forestry employers, saying the industry wants to improve profitability by seeking alternative ways to agree on wages and working conditions.

While workers have demanded UPM signs a company-wide labour agreement, the company has pushed for business-specific agreements and signed them with its plywood and timber divisions.

Workers in UPM’s pulp, paper and biofuels businesses have said UPM wants to dictate new conditions instead of negotiating, the three trade unions have stated.

The strike will end on Jan. 22 unless an agreement is reached before that, the trade unions previously said in separate statements.

UPM rival Stora Enso (STERV.HE) has signed a company-wide agreement with the workers’ unions.