Industrial Union to support paper workers’ strike at UPM to the tune of 2.2 million euro

Collective bargaining at UPM paper mills have not yet yielded any results. The forestry giant UPM still stubbornly demands that an extra 70 – 100 annual working hours be done by its employees without any additional pay.

The UPM strike, which began on 1 January, will continue till at least 16 April, if there is not an agreement before then.

The situation is extremely expensive for UPM. According to analysts, the company is suffering a loss in profits of 2 – 3 million euro a day. But as their goal is ideological, the cost seems not to mean anything.

It is not cheap for the unions on strike either, the Finnish Electrical Workers’ Union and the Paper Workers’ Union.

The Paper Workers’ Union is not poor: their balance sheet says that in the beginning of 2021 their fund for industrial conflicts was 86.8 million euro. A union without a strike fund is a toothless union. However, the fund is not liquid cash but clearly tied up in several investments.

SAK, the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Union, made it clear earlier in March that it and its member unions “will make sure in all cases, that the Paper Workers’ Union and the Finnish Electrical Workers’ Union has possibilities to continue the industrial action as long as the situation demands”.

UPM did not listen to the message, but it is a matter of real solidarity, not only words. On 24 March the Industrial Union announced that it will provide 2.2 million euro of the Paper Workers’ Union strike pay for its members on strike.

The Industrial Union makes it clear that it will do its share to support striking unions as long as needed.

“We are not leaving the Paper Workers’ Union standing alone. This is the message the Industrial Union board sends to the UPM shareholders’ meeting, which will be held on Tuesday 29.3.2022.”

Heikki Jokinen

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