Standstill at Neste’s refinery in Porvoo, Southern Finland, could have an impact on air and road traffic in Finland, writes Helsingin Sanomat. (Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva)

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THE TWO-WEEK STRIKE threatening the forest and chemicals industry would also have an impact on the everyday lives of Finns, writes Helsingin Sanomat.

The newspaper reminded yesterday that although shutting down production plants in the forest industry would have the bigger impact on the national economy, ordinary people would be affected especially by strikes at pharmaceutical companies and the oil refineries of Neste.

“If the Porvoo and Naantali refineries sent out no fuel for two weeks, it’d have an impact on service stations, public transport and air traffic,” Sami Ryynänen, the chief shop steward at the refinery of Neste in Porvoo, summarised to Helsingin Sanomat.

“That’s when Finland would come to a stop,” he added.

Juha Yli-Kesäniemi, the CEO of the Finnish Petrol and Traffic Service Retailers’ Organisation (SBL), reminded to Helsingin Sanomat that Neste accounts for around 25 per cent of the retail sales of petrol and 40 per cent of the retail sales of diesel in Finland. The Espoo-headquartered oil refining company also supplies fuel to, for example, the service stations of Teboil.

Even if its refineries were not shut down completely, the strikes would severely complicate fuel distribution, according to Toni Laiho, the chief chemical industry negotiator at the Industrial Union.

“We’ll make sure no raw materials are brought to the refineries and that no fuel is moved out,” he stated to Helsingin Sanomat.

The Industrial Union, along with Trade Union Pro and the Finnish Paper Workers’ Union, on Sunday announced it will organise a two-week strike between 27 January and 9 February. Attempts to solve the long-running dispute in the chemicals and paper industries continued today, on 14 January.

Helsingin Sanomat on Monday estimated that the impact of the industrial actions may be greater on air traffic than road traffic if they continue for a while, as the fuel supplier of the stations of ABC, St1 and Shell is Neot, which imports a large share of its fuel from the refinery of St1 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Neste, however, supplies fuel for all outbound flights from Helsinki Airport, according to a spokesperson at Finnair.

“We’re monitoring the situation, and we’re currently examining the impacts of the possible strike on flights by Finnair,” a spokesperson at the state-owned airline stated to Helsingin Sanomat.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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