Marimekko begins codetermination talks affecting half of workforce

The company is looking to save 1.5 million euros annually as the fashion industry faces the "worst crisis in decades".

File photo of the Marimekko store on Mannerheimintie in Helsinki. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Iconic Finnish design, clothing and textile firm Marimekko has announced plans to begin consultative negotiations affecting 193 employees.

In addition to possible job cuts, the company will also consider possible changes to job descriptions, working methods and the organisation of work, as well as the outsourcing of some operational functions.

At the end of June, the company employed 432 people full-time worldwide.

The codetermination talks will affect employees working in all sectors of the company in Finland, with the exception of retail store personnel and employees of the Herttoniemi textile printing plant.

Negotiations will also begin with staff representatives in Scandinavia, North America and Australia, again with the exception of retail personnel.

In a press release, Markimekko stated that the global fashion and specialty retail sector is facing the "worst crisis in decades" due to the coronavirus pandemic, and has "has taken uncertainty over the global economy to a completely new level".

The company is therefore seeking to reorganise and streamline its operations in Finland on both a production and financial basis, with the goal of strengthening Marimekko's competitiveness in the future.

The company aims to make savings of up to 1.5 million euros annually.

"I find it extremely regrettable that, in order to reorganize and streamline our operations, we need to initiate consultative negotiations in Finland as well as corresponding processes in our above-mentioned international organizations. With these unfortunate but necessary measures, we aim to secure the financial position of our company in the long term," Marimekko's President and CEO Tiina Alahuhta-Kasko said in the company's press release.

The talks on staff cuts will begin in Finland on 19 August.

Edit: Updated at 11.42am to reflect that the talks affect 193 Marimekko employees.