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Unions, employers to continue wage talks without mediator

An oil company is predicting widespread disruption to transportation and food supplies if a two-week strike takes place.

Valtakunnansovittelijan toimiston kyltti
Unions and employers failed to reach agreement during talks at the national conciliator's office. Image: Seppo Samuli / Lehtikuva

Representatives of chemical industry employers and employees will continue wage talks without the presence of the state mediator, according to the office of national labour conciliator Vuokko Piekkala.

The disclosure came after negotiators from the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland and the Industrial Union met to continue discussions on a new collective bargaining agreement at the conciliator’s office on Tuesday.

"In talks between the Chemical Industry Federation and the Industrial Union: the parties will continue face-to-face talks at an expedited schedule," the conciliators office tweeted on Tuesday.

Piekkala’s office said that the Finnish Forest Industries and the paper workers’ union Paperiliitto, will also continue their negotiations in the form of unmediated talks. Both organisations also held discussions at the conciliator’s office on Tuesday.

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Neste: Strikes could hit transportation, food supplies

Employers and employees are divided on the so-called competitiveness pact, a labour market pact introduced by the Juha Sipilä administration in 2016 in a bid to boost national export competitiveness. The model added an additional 24 hours annually to employees’ working time without additional compensation.

The Industrial Union, Paperiliitto and Trade Union Pro, which represents professional and managerial staff in the public and private sectors, have threatened a large-scale two-week strike over the issue.

If employer and employee representatives do not resolve their differences, the strikes will begin on 26 and 27 January. The strike action would affect roughly 1,400 persons in the chemical industry.

On Tuesday, Finnish oil refining firm Neste predicted dire consequences if the strikes take place. It warned that long-term disruption of fuel deliveries would cripple transportation and heating services and would also affect rescue operations as well as food supplies.

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