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Wärtsilä cites coronavirus crisis in bid to extend furloughs

In April the firm said it would temporarily lay off more than 3,000 workers in Finland.

Wärtsilän pääkonttori Helsingin Salmisaaressa
Wärtsilä's head office in Helsinki. Image: Juha Kivioja / Yle

Finnish power systems firm Wärtsilä announced on Friday that it was launching negotiations to extend furloughs for workers temporarily laid off earlier this year.

The talks will apply to all subsidiaries, locations and employee groups in Finland. In April this year, Wärtsilä decided to furlough more than 3,000 employees. Some of the furloughs were implemented by way of converting full-time jobs to part-time positions.

The company’s Vaasa operations in the west were hardest hit by the furlough scheme, but workers in Helsinki and Turku were also affected. The modified working arrangements affected workers for a maximum of 90 days.

At the time Wärtsilä blamed the layoffs on the coronavirus crisis, and on Friday it attributed the new round of co-determination talks to the pandemic and a temporary reduction in available work.

The furloughs announced on Friday will affect people whose 90-day furlough periods have either already ended or are coming to an end. The new round of layoffs will also last 90 days, it said.

Wärtsilä currently employs around 3,700 workers in Finland, 2,850 of whom are stationed in Vaasa.

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