The dispute between the paper mills and UPM seems to be more entrenched than ever after the Federation of Finnish Industries has begun to fund the strike salaries of the members of the Paper Association.
The subsidy is estimated to cost the larger union € 2.2 million, but industry leaders said they “would not leave the Paper Workers’ Union alone to fight”.
The support will ensure that the strike continues, and the strike salary is estimated to cost around € 200,000 a day.
The Paper Association has asked its members to pay a voluntary contribution of € 50 to support strikers at UPM’s mills.
Analysts have estimated that UPM will lose € 2-3 million a day as the strike progresses, affecting the availability of newsprint and even self-adhesive labels for food packaging likely to have a wider impact on the economy.
The 86th day of the strike was Friday.
"UPM’s management must refrain from weakening conditions and increasing the dictatorship of employers," Read the Confederation of Finnish Industry’s press release.
"The requirements of the Paper Union are fully in line with those agreed by other companies in the industry months ago."
Extensive support from unions
Most of the strike wages are paid directly by the unions involved in the dispute, but the blue-collar union SAK has asked other member unions to support strike workers.
A proposal for a solution to the dispute between UPM’s pulp mills is currently being processed by Leo Suomeksi, to whom the parties will not have until 14 April.
The association has said it wants an agreement for all business units and is trying to agree on it ahead of schedule.
In its statement, the Confederation of Finnish Industry stated that UPM’s actions are detrimental to employers, who for years have favored separate deals for each company compared to the industry-specific deals traditionally agreed in Finland.
UPM, on the other hand, wants different terms for different business units.
"The stubbornness of UPM’s management pays off to the rest of Finnish business when trying to push company-specific employment contracts forward," said the statement. "Confidence in company-specific agreements has weakened as a result of a long dispute and unreasonable demands on UPM. The main disagreement concerns business unit-specific agreements and working time extensions."
UPM declined to comment on the dispute with Yle.
Source: The Nordic Page