Labor market The strikes began at UPM’s mills – in Lappeenranta, outsiders are running the power plant

“We are investigating the matter, but it seems that this is a violent labor force,” says Petri Vanhala, chairman of the Paper Association.

Jobs came to a halt on Saturday morning at most of UPM’s mills when the strikes announced by Paperiliitto, Trade Union Pro and Sähköliitto for three weeks began after the collective agreements expired at the turn of the year.

President of the Paper Association Petri Vanhalan according to which the plant shutdowns have gone smoothly.

The union’s attention has been drawn to the fact that the Kaukaan Voima power plant in UPM’s factory area in Lappeenranta is still in operation. Lappeenranta Energia announced on Saturday morning that outsiders have been hired to run the power plant.

“We’re sorting it out, but it looks like it’s the offending labor,” Vanhala told HS.

CEO of Lappeenranta Energy Arto Nikkanen according to the aim is not to affect the strike weapon but to secure the supply of district heating now that the power plant operations are not limited to industrial action.

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Saturday the strike that began was completely stalled by negotiations on new collective agreements. The unions had concluded the now-concluded sectoral and national agreements with the Finnish Forest Industries Association.

Negotiations have not even been able to begin, as UPM would like business-specific working conditions but unions would like company-wide terms.

Company-specific agreements have been entered into with other forest companies, including Stora Enso and Metsä Group.

According to the Paper Association, new agreements have been reached with 30 companies and about 75 percent of the members working in the paper industry.

The factories under strike produce paper, pulp and biofuels in five business areas, among others.

Industrial struggles started now in Jämsänkoski, Kouvola, Lappeenranta, Pietarsaari, Rauma, Tampere and Valkeakoski.

The strikes do not apply to the plywood and sawmill businesses, for which UPM was able to negotiate business-specific agreements with the Confederation of Finnish Industry in December.

The factories under strike produce paper, pulp and biofuels in five business areas, among others.

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In connection with the factories, there are power plants that generate a large part of the district heating in their cities.

Strikes no works such as heat production and water treatment are restricted to the outside, as is usually the case.

According to Vanhala, the restrictions were not met because UPM does not agree to abide by the terms of the old contract, but has offered the employees temporary terms that it has drawn up itself.

As late as Friday, there was hope in the factory cities that heat production would be curbed outside the strike.

On Friday, the energy companies in Lappeenranta, Kouvola and Rauma reiterated their call for the production of district heating, which is “vital” for everyone, to be excluded from the strike.

On Friday Lappeenranta Energia said that it mainly used it to their backup heating plants. On Saturday, it announced that the Kaukaan Voima power plant was being operated by a company outside the strike.

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CEO of Kaukaan Voima Juha Kouki says in a statement that an outside workforce was reached in order to meet the needs of the power plant ‘s customers during the critical winter time.

“The power plant is still running normally in practice. The power plant’s users changed when the strike began, ”says Kouki.

Kaukaan Voima generates heat for Lappeenranta Energia’s district heating network and steam, for example, for the sawmill in UPM’s Kaukaan mill area, which is operating normally.

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