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Stora Enso cuts 550 jobs from Veitsiluoto plant

The redundancies will include 440 workers from the company's paper division and 110 from maintenance company Efora.

File photo of Stora Enso's Veitsiluoto Mill in northern Finland. Image: Antti Ullakko / Yle

Paper, wood and packaging products company Stora Enso has announced 550 job cuts after the conclusion of co-determination talks with staff representatives at the Veitsiluoto mill in Kemi, northern Finland.

Those whose contracts are ending include 440 workers from the company's paper division and 110 from the maintenance company Efora. The company said that 28 percent of the redundancies will be implemented through retirement arrangements.

The two-month negotiations had put an estimated 670 jobs on the line.

Three paper machines, the production of chemical pulp and groundwood, and a sheeting plant will permanently cease operations in Veitsiluoto as the result of the redundancies. Production is scheduled to stop between July and September this year, and the majority of employment contracts will end by January 2022.

The Veitsiluoto sawmill will continue to operate on the island with 50 employees, in addition to about 40 employees running the power plant.

Support is being sought for the workers facing redundancy, including the possibility of a new leaseholder taking over the factory's operations.

"It is important that we look into all possible options, and not just the ones brought to attention by the people who have directly contacted us, for both now and the future," executive vice president and head of the paper division, Kati ter Horst, saidin a press briefing on Thursday morning.

Stora Enso has been working closely with the city of Kemi and other stakeholders to support the re-employment and retraining of employees on both an individual and group level. Support measures are also available for employees, such as with relocation or financial backing for employees who want to start their own business.

Stora Enso stated that it is currently investigating future opportunities for the Veitsiluoto site. There are many factors contributing to future opportunities in the area, such as a strong industrial infrastructure and deep waterway, providing an effective connection to the national electricity grid, access to clean water and the possibility of utilising renewable energy by expanding facilities and using seawater for cooling.

"We will make proper estimates of what is best for this site, the city of Kemi and the people of Kemi, especially the ones that come here to work. But this is of course a process that takes time and we will need to be realistic about that," ter Horst said.