UPM isolates itself more due to its labour market policy line

UPM, the Finnish forestry giant, is still confounding everyone with its stance on collective agreement negotiations. On the one hand, it refuses even to negotiate with the unions and on the other hand, it somewhat surprisingly accepts some pay deals.

The Industrial Union reached on 10 December two new collective agreements in the mechanical forestry industry sector with UPM.

The UPM Plywood and UPM Timber pay deals follow the general line of the forestry pay rise, the Industrial Union says without revealing yet the exact nature of the pay rise. The two new collective agreements are valid for three years and will come into effect as of 1 January 2022.

New deals with UPM are important, as the company is extremely reluctant to negotiate with the trade unions. UPM has already in the spring unilaterally announced that it will make no kind of collective agreements for salaried employees at all.

According to Trade Union Pro, UPM has completely refused to even begin to negotiate on a new collective agreement for salaried employees. The existing collective agreement expires at the end of the year. Pro represents the salaried employees.

This has caused a lot of insecurity among UPM staff, and Pro says that more than one hundred salaried employees have left the company due to the situation.

This, of course, is very detrimental to UPM’s image and makes it more difficult to recruit. What UPM is counting on to win, is difficult to say.

Trade Union Pro has also been able to make new collective agreements with many companies in the forestry industry, like Stora Enso.

In the paper industry, UPM has not yet shown any willingness to negotiate for the new collective agreement with the Paper Workers’ Union, except with strict preconditions set by the company.

This makes UPM more isolated in the labour market after the Paper Workers’ Union reached a pay deal with Metsä Group 10 December. Earlier, the union had already pocketed a deal with Stora Enso and several smaller paper industry companies.

Out of the three major Finnish paper industry companies, only UPM is now going into the year 2022 without a collective agreement.

Heikki Jokinen

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