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Finnish Forest Industries Federation proposes extension of current collective labor agreement

FINLAND (News release) -- Since the spring, the Finnish Forest Industries Federation (FFIF) and the Finnish Paper Workers' Union have been negotiating over changes to the collective labour agreement.

The FFIF has proposed that the current agreement be extended in its current form for a year and that negotiations over changes to the agreement that would lead to improved productivity would be continued without delay. The objective is to reach the same kind of flexible working conditions that are in place in other industrial sectors, FFIF said.

The Finnish Paper Workers' Union was not willing to discuss changes to the paper industry's collective labour agreement that would lead to substantial improvements in productivity. For this reason there were no grounds for discussing pay increases.

According to the paper industry's collective labour agreement, wages are agreed on at the local level. This guarantees wage development even in situations where pay increases are not agreed on in the collective labour agreement.

The forest industry wants to secure production and jobs in Finland but this requires the collective labour agreement to be updated to meet the current competitive climate and work situation.

It is crucial that changes that substantially and actually improve productivity are made to the collective labour agreement. For example, demand for printing and writing paper in the forest industry's main market, Europe, continues to fall while there is overcapacity in paper production.

The removal of the ban on subcontracting, for example, would allow companies to, for instance, better prepare for peak seasons. Such a ban is not in place in other export industries. The FFIF has been prepared to agree to pay increases for changes that boost productivity.

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