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Aktia Bank cuts 92 jobs, Valmet Auto extends furloughs

A bank closes branch offices while a carmaker extends layoffs.

Työntekijöitä autotehtaalla Uudessakaupungissa.
Last spring Valmet said it planned to hire 1,000 people in Finland this year. Image: Valmet Automotive

Banking group Aktia has wrapped up redundancy talks launched in September. As a result 92 jobs will be eliminated, while about 50 employees will be offered new positions within the group.

Originally Aktia predicted that the negotiations would lead to a loss of up to 110 jobs. The talks involved 380 employees.

Along with staff reductions, the bank will consolidate its network of branch offices. The bank now serves some 310,000 customers at 32 branch offices.

Of these, 18 will either be merged with others or possibly sold off to independent operators. Some branches in small towns will be replaced with "new customer meeting points available by appointment". The changes will begin taking place in January.

Aktia estimates that the cost-cutting measures now implemented will trim annual expenditures by about three million euros.

According to Carola Nilsson, director of the Private Customers division, Aktia is seeking growth in larger cities and "concentrating our competence to these growth areas". It will also centralise and beef up some operations in the west-coast city of Vaasa.

Valmet sees output upswing in February

Further south on the west coast, Valmet Automotive is re-starting layoff talks at its Uusikaupunki car plant.

The firm says that a previous round of furloughs was insufficient. It plans to extend earlier-agreed temporary layoffs by another month. The rolling 90-day layoffs begin this month and are to continue until February.

The carmaker says it needs to temporarily shrink its workforce by about 100 person-years due to a dip in production volumes. It says that it now expects manufacturing to return to its planned level in February rather than January as previously thought.

At this point no job cuts are planned. The furloughs will not affect Valmet's battery plant in the southwestern town of Salo. In September the company said it planned to focus more on electric vehicles and fuel cells.

With some 6,000 employees, Valmet Automotive is an upstream partner for manufacturers such as Daimler, BMW and Porsche. Last spring it said it planned to hire around 1,000 employees in Finland this year.

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