Pro’s Jorma Malinen: Forest industry representatives’ arrogant attitude is preventing a solution being found | Trade Union Pro
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Pro’s Jorma Malinen: Forest industry representatives’ arrogant attitude is preventing a solution being found

12.2.2020 12:00
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Negotiations on a collective agreement for clerical employees in the paper industry are deadlocked. The employer’s side is offering a significantly poorer contractual solution for paper industry employees than Paperiliitto, the union representing the workers, will accept.

Pro News / 12 February 2020

“The employer’s side is rejecting all proposals for abolishing the hours of unpaid work under the competitiveness pact and increasing salaries by a reasonable amount,” says Trade Union Pro president Jorma Malinen.

Pro has been continuing negotiations on the collective bargaining agreement for clerical workers in the paper industry at the office of the national conciliator since Monday evening. Despite the numerous constructive compromises put forward by Pro, the negotiations are making no progress, and the views of the negotiating parties on possible contractual solutions are considerably further apart than previously.

“The most problematic issue in the negotiations is the solution for unpaid hours under the competitiveness pact, as the employer wants full and even excessive compensation for eliminating them, which would be taken from the clerical employees’ salaries. In practice, this means that clerical employees in the paper industry would be forced to buy off the unpaid hours under the competitiveness pact with a significant extension of working time and a reduction in total wages,” Malinen explains.

According to Malinen, the negotiating attitude of the employer is marked by arrogance and a trivialising of the position of clerical employees.

Paper industry employees walk out in protest against the unwillingness of the employer to negotiate

Clerical employees at Stora Enso’s Oulu mill left the morning shift from 6 to 7 am on 12 February. This was a response to the negotiation situation and the unwillingness of Finnish Forest Industries to negotiate.

“The message I received from the employer is that people have not come to work,” says head shop steward Ari Kuismin, commenting at the negotiations in Helsinki.

Trade Union Pro members in the paper industry who are clerical employees of Nokia Essity Finland also walked out of work. The walkout will last until Thursday, when the strike of clerical employees begins. The walkout is a response to the presentations made by Finnish Forest Industries at the negotiations on the collective bargaining agreement yesterday.

Now things have gone too far. Clerical employees want equal treatment with others at the negotiating table.

According to shop steward Pekka Heinonen, beginning the evening shift at DS Smith Packaging Finland in Tampere, he received a message from the deputy shop steward about a walkout by the clerical employees at 9:30 am.

“All the clerical employees are flabbergasted: they will not accept Finnish Forest Industries’ weakening of their position more and more all the time,” says deputy shop steward  Jarmo Paloviita.

Work stoppages by clerical employees in the paper industry

The paper industry’s work stoppage applies to clerical employees’ work shifts from 27 January at 0:00 am to 9 February 2020 at 11:59 pm. Finnish Forest Industries also announced a work shutdown on 10 February from 0:00 am.

Pro has announced a temporary ban on overtime under the collective agreement of the paper industry for the entire agreement area. The overtime ban comes into force at 10 pm today and will last until 6 am on 20 February 2020.

A second work stoppage comes into effect on Thursday 13 February at 0:00 and will last until 11:59 pm on Wednesday 19 February. The strike covers all the tasks within the scope of the agreement for clerical employees between Trade Union Pro and Finnish Forest Industries, with the exception of clerical work at KotkaMills Oy and Tervakoski Oy.

A third work stoppage by Paperiteollisuus begins immediately after the preceding stoppage, covering the shifts from Thursday 20 February at 0:00 am to Wednesday 26 February at 11:59 pm.

The strike covers all the tasks within the scope of the agreement for clerical employees between Trade Union Pro and Finnish Forest Industries, with the exception of clerical work at KotkaMills Oy, Tervakoski Oy, Dongwha Finland Oy and Oy Keskuslaboratorio-Centrallaboratorium Ab.