Sanomapaino announced on Monday that it has wrapped up consultative negotiations with its staff and decided to terminate the contracts of a total of 54 employees as part of the closure of its printing plant in Forssa, Hämeen Paino.

Sanomapaino, a market leader in newspaper printing, is similarly to Helsingin Sanomat a part of Sanoma Media Finland.

The decision to close the printing plant came as a shock to the town and its 17,000 inhabitants. “This is a catastrophe. We've already lost some 1,500 jobs since 2008 due to the recession,” mayor Sami Sulkko bemoans. The unemployment rate of the town has consequently crept up to roughly 15 per cent.

Sulkko also highlights that many of the employees at the printing plant are already over 50 years old and that job vacancies are few and far between in the printing sector.

In addition, the closure of the printing plant is expected to have a number of spillover effects. “Sanomapaino has as far as I understand bought a lot of support services, including security and restaurant services, from local business owners,” Sulkko points out.

Hämeen Paino has recently recorded a considerable decline in both its external sales and the volumes of Sanoma's own products, according to Ismo Vuoksio, the chief executive at Sanomapaino. “Shutting down the printing plant was unfortunately the only option available to us amid the economic situation that's squeezing the entire industry,” he says.

Sanomapaino will henceforth operate two printing plants – Sanomala in Vantaa and Savon Paino in Varkaus – which will take over the printing of Helsingin Sanomat and Ilta-Sanomat from Hämeen Paino. Ilta-Sanomat is also printed at other printing plants.

Sanomapaino initiated the consultative negotiations at the end of April.

Jukka Hiiro – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT