Forest industry The news of the closure of the Veitsiluoto plant was a “terrible bomb” for the work community, says Kyösti Poikolainen, who has worked at the plant for 40 years

News of Stora Enso’s plan to close the Veitsiluoto mills was received with shock in Kemi. Downsizing takes jobs from up to 670 people. Indirectly, the closure will affect thousands of jobs.

Stora The plan to close the Veitsiluoto mills, published by Enso on Tuesday morning, caused the mill people to march out at two in the afternoon. Workers stepped through the gate in front of the media in their yellow vests with little words and apes.

Merja Kotka did not want to comment on the news in any way.

“It is such an unpublishable thing in mind that home education forbids saying anything,” says Kotka.

“A terrible shock,” he says Kyösti Poikolainen.

In June, a boy would turn forty-one years in Veitsiluoto. He says the news was a terrible bomb for the work community, although one could have guessed something along these lines. Demand for paper has declined since 2007 and paper mill closures have been anticipated for some time. Many interviewees say that the lack of investment has meant that the owner no longer wants to develop the plant.

If Stora Enso’s plan will be fully implemented, and the Veitsiluoto factory boarding house, which has been in operation since 1922, will end in the third quarter. The sawmill was opened in Veitsiluoto a year earlier, exactly one hundred years ago. Sawing is likely to continue on the island in the future and will employ about fifty people.

An estimated 670 direct jobs will be lost. Indirectly, the closure could affect thousands of jobs.

“This is a huge blow to the whole area. I am already 62 years old, so for me this is not the most absolutely pitiful. For many young people, this is a difficult place, ”says Poikolainen.

Present has been a year of historical giant news for Kemi. The closure of the Veitsiluoto mills is probably the largest closure decision ever made in Finland.

Earlier in the winter, Kemi’s second forest industry flagship, Metsä Fiber, reported on Finland’s largest ever investment in the forest industry. Metsä Fibre’s EUR 1.6 billion pulp mill investment will mainly preserve existing jobs. Instead, the construction phase of the factory giant will employ and indirectly the investment is estimated to bring one thousand five hundred new jobs to Finland.

On the side of the Veitsiluoto factories, the business premises in the Rytikari residential area are largely empty. The signs of the closed stone foot shops spoke of living history. The log trucks rumble through the area in a steady stream.

Resident in Rytikari Ritva Ikäläinen has set out to bonga birds. A few days ago he saw a stork. Now the sea geese are stuttering in the melt.

Ritva Ikäläinen.­

Ikäläinen, who is now retired as a primary care nurse at Länsi-Pohja Central Hospital, is shocked by the news.

“Absolutely terrible news, such a terrible thing that no one believes. I have a terrible concern. ”

Ikäläinen says that the decision to quit affects just about everything. In Kemi, the “bread fathers” have been involved in everything and behind everything good, from sports club funding to road maintenance.

“Our district heating comes from the factory. Where does it come from when the factory runs out? This bay where I watch birds is melted because of the factory’s condensate. ”

In his twenties Ikäläinen, who moved from Ivalo to Kemi, fears that the Rytikari district will become even more empty. The only shop in the village is in trouble, as is the gas station where the truck drivers are currently taking their breaks. He is very concerned about families with children and their livelihoods.

“Dad had time to work at the factory for 30 years. I had a career there of 43 years and three months. ”

Ikäläinen describes Rytikari as a Lapland idyll where it has been good to live.

“You can say that this is an island of fairy tales,” Ikäläinen says in a broken voice.

Going out in the Vili-dreever district of Little Berlin Raimo Kiirikki heard the news on the radio in the morning. Immediately after, his son, who is a “knife” in the third generation, called.

“Dad had time to work at the factory for 30 years. I had a career there of 43 years and three months. ”

Kiirik’s career began at the age of 18. It had been heard at the factory that the younger Kiirikki was looking for a job. So a letter came from the factory saying that he now has a job reserved for him. So Kirikikki was brought from home to work.

The work ended in co-determination negotiations in 2009 when people were asked if there were any volunteers.

“I immediately raised my hand. When I left, not even departure coffee was offered. ”

Raimo Kiirikki and Vili the dog.­

I’m in a hurry according to, entering and leaving work well describes the change in the company’s culture. An internationalizing, growing company was no longer part of the community in the same way as before.

Individual yellow vests flow towards the main gate. The protest will last until the next day. In front of the gate, YLE interviews the real-looking mayor of Kemi Matti from Sweden. Discussions with the Ministry of Employment and the Economy have already begun.

Kemi Mayor Matti Ruotsalainen at the gate of Stora Enso’s Veitsiluoto plant in Kemi on Tuesday.­

Read more: The closure of the Veitsiluoto plant is a complete shock to Kemi: “All the small indicators indicated that there is a positive mood on the ground,” says the mayor.

A pair of whooper swans fly fiercely in front of the main gate, swinging towards Rytikari’s condensed water melt. They pass the factory complex and the factory chimney, whose hundred-year-old statue of smoke rises to the blue of the sky for a moment longer. This is a Swan Song on the islands of fairy tales.

Employees at Stora Enso’s Veitsiluoto plant marched out of their workplaces.­

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