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Dairy producer Valio begins layoff talks over Russian food embargo

Finnish dairy company Valio announced Friday that it will begin co-determination talks affecting some 800 employees at all but one of its production facilities in Finland. According to the company the negotiations are a direct result of food import restrictions announced by Russia earlier this week.

Valion lippuja.
Finnish dairy producer Valio announced plans Friday to furlough some of its 800 workers in Finland. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

Dairy products company Valio said Friday that talks to adjust its operations will affect 800 workers at production facilities in Haapavesi, Seinäjoki and Vantaa, as well as its Laapeenranta unit. Staff working at the company's Oulu facility will not be affected by the negotiations.

The company said the negotiations are likely to result in staff furloughs, while expiring fixed term contracts would also not be renewed. However it did not indicate the number of employees to be temporarily laid off or the duration of the furloughs.

Valio blamed the adjustment programme on a decision by the Kremlin Wednesday to impose a retaliatory embargo on food imports from the US, EU and other western nations. Earlier this month the EU and US introduced a number of financial and other sanctions over Russia’s perceived efforts to destabilise eastern Ukraine.

Yesterday the company said that it expected to be hit hard by the Russian countermeasure.

In addition to streamlining its facilities in Finland, Valio will also be looking to gradually wind down operations in Russia, where it currently employs about 500 workers.

Company chief executive Pekka Laaksonen did not offer any additional comment on the announcement Friday afternoon, instead asking to be left alone to continue his work.

“We have enough problems at the moment so we’d appreciate being left to do our work, thank you,” he told Yle.

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