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Riku Aalto, the chairperson of the Industrial Union, has shifted the blame for the stalled collective bargaining negotiations in the chemical and forest industries to employer representatives. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

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THE INDUSTRIAL UNION on Sunday announced roughly 14,000 of its members at hundreds of workplaces are to take part in a series of strikes and sympathy strikes set to begin on 27 January and end on 9 February.

The industrial actions will affect operations at over two hundred workplaces in industries such as the basic chemical, mechanical forest, and oil, natural gas and petrochemical industries.

“We have unfortunately observed that employer representatives have virtually no willingness to negotiate in both the chemical and forest industry. This is the case even though we have already managed to find an agreement in, for example, the technology industry. That agreement was a breakthrough and a model that should also appeal to others,” said Riku Aalto, the chairperson of the Industrial Union.

He underscored that the over 140,000-member trade union is pursuing a collective bargaining agreement that is fair for all of its members.

The Finnish Paper Workers’ Union on Sunday declared that it has suspended its collective bargaining negotiations and issued a strike warning to 67 member companies of Finnish Forest Industries. The parties, it highlighted, have sat down 34 times but made no progress on questions related to the language of the agreement and yet to even start talks about wage increases.

The question of what to do with the 24-hour working-time extension introduced as part of the competitiveness pact is similarly unsolved.

Some 9,000 of its members are to participate in the strikes between 26 January and 10 February.

Petri Vanhala, the chairperson of the Finnish Paper Workers’ Union, described the ongoing round of collective bargaining negotiations as unusual, accusing employer representatives of refusing to adhere to the agreement struck by the Industrial Union and Technology Industries of Finland.

“Employers in export industries were first demanding that the […] template of the agreement must be protected. Now […] the demands have been forgotten completely,” he said.

“If the intention was to build a new, so-called Finnish model for the labour markets, Finnish Forest Industries’ way of handling things is at least not promoting it. This will have an impact also on future bargaining talks,” added Vanhala.

The Finnish Paper Workers’ Union on Sunday stated that the 24-hour unpaid increase in annual working time adopted as part of the competitiveness pact must be scrapped also in the paper industry.

“The competitiveness pact was adopted on a temporary basis to improve the economic situation of this country. It is irrelevant how the working-time extension was written down in the collective bargaining agreement because the agreement is expiring,” he argued.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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