Port strike in Finland ends as collective agreement is reached
What impact has the strike had on the country’s pulp and paper sector?
The Finnish port strike that has paralyzed the country’s logistics sector has come to an end. The Finnish Transport Union (AKT) and the employer organization for the country’s ports reached a deal on February 28 that will allow the country’s stevedores to return to work, bringing an end to the two-week strike.
The dockworkers launched an open-ended strike on February 15 after talks on a new collective agreement to replace the one that expired on January 31 hit a roadblock. Workers in the port terminal and trucking sectors joined the strike for one week in February and had launched another walkout beginning on February 28. Those strikes have also been cancelled.
The new collective agreement will be valid for 25 months, running until February 28, 2025. The deal provides for a 6.3% salary increase, the AKT said in a statement. “The resulting agreement ends all industrial action immediately and we will return to work as soon as possible, but no later than March 4, for a return to normal work shifts,” the union said.
What impact has the strike had?
The strikes had begun to impact the country’s pulp and paper sector, with a number of firms having to shut down machines or curtail production as, unable to move products, they ran out of warehouse space.
Stora Enso has had to stop production at its Varkaus kraftliner mill as its stockage areas are full as a result of the Finnish port and logistics strikes, according to local media. The firm reportedly suspended the wages of some 150 of the mill’s 230 employees at the end of last week. The Varkaus mill can churn out some 405,000 tonnes of kraftliner and 325,000 tonnes of pulp annually.
Finnish pulp producer Metsä Fibre declared force majeure last week due to the strike and its effect on its supply chain.
The AKT was seeking an agreement that would boost wages and correct for losses in purchasing power, while also insisting on adjustments to a number of working conditions.
Fastmarkets’ World Pulp Monthly estimated that each week of the strike could result in the blocking of approximately 105,000 tonnes of market pulp, representing an estimated 10.3% of global shipments per week.
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