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Strike at UPM mills to continue until mid-April

UPM paper mill workers walked off the job on New Year’s Day after their collective agreement expired at the end of 2021.

Sign outside of UPM Jämsänkoski paper mill. Image: Petri Aaltonen / Yle

The Paperworkers' Union announced on Wednesday that UPM plant workers will extend their ongoing strike until 16 April, as no agreement on working conditions has yet been reached. The action had been scheduled to end on 2 April.

The union has been in negotiations with UPM over a new collective agreement, which determines pay and conditions in the paper industry. The strike started on 1 January 2022, and the parties are currently locked in mediation.

According to information from the company’s shop stewards, dozens of UPM workers have resigned in various parts of Finland during the strike.

Timo Hietanen, head shop steward at the company's plant in Jämsänkoski, told Yle that seven workers have so far left the company, including white-collar employees, due to the ongoing deadlock.

He added that it may be difficult to start up all UPM's paper machines after the strike due to a lack of capable workers, as he also suspects more workers will be forced to resign if the strike continues.

UPM has said it will try to meet customer demand from its mills outside of Finland while the strike is ongoing.

The forest giant has not yet published an estimate of the financial impact of the strike.