Employees of UPM walk out in Jämsänkoski and Kaipola

A month ago, co-decision negotiations ended at two paper mills of UPM. The results of these negotiations were told yesterday: 41 people lose their job. UPM has earlier announced an ‘efficiency program’ which results in reducing personnel worldwide,(link to a Finnish post) but in particular in Finland and the rest of Europe. One result is the permanent stoppage of PK3 or paper machine 3 in Rauma.

So, this walk-out (by both salaried personnel and employees, i.e. blue-collar AND white-collar personnel) is a real protest. The shop steward of the salaried employees states that he is very worried about well-being at work, since the workload and the mental stress of the remaining employees will increase even more. Furthermore he states that he is extremely worried about the future of the redundant personnel, because they are not very likely to find work again.

I am quite tired of the developments in the Finnish paper industry. Employers reduce personnel in the hope to make their business more competitive, but they forget that a) it is the final price of the product that influences competitiveness most and b) too much pressure on workers leads to more sick-leave absenteeism, which reduces the well-being and morale of employees even more (let’s not talk about the mental pressure of the threat of redundancies all the time). The fundamental issue here is that energy and raw materials are the main culprits for the paper industry’s competitive position, not personnel. Without a dedicated workforce, you can’t create value, you can’t innovate.



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