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Fri, Oct 15, 2021 15:35
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UPM and Paperworkers' Union negotiations tangled

FINLAND (News release) - Since spring, UPM has sought to enter into business-specific collective bargaining with the Paperworkers' Union in the same way as UPM Timber and UPM Plywood businesses are negotiating with their employee representatives and the Finnish Industrial Union since May.

However, Paperworkers' Union has stated that it will not negotiate with UPM's businesses but requires a single company-level collective labour agreement. Paperworkers' Union has cancelled an appointment with UPM Biofuels business, even though UPM Communication Paper business has already met with Paperworkers' Union and other businesses have prepared for similar meetings.

Paperworkers' Union is a negotiation partner for five business areas within UPM. Each UPM business has revenues corresponding to at least a medium-sized listed company, and their products, markets and operating environment differ significantly. The current paper industry's collective labour agreement is more than 50 years old and does not meet the demands of today's work. It does not ensure competitiveness in the completely changed operating environment of the paper and pulp businesses. Neither is the agreement fitted for new, markedly different businesses, such as the production of biofuels.

At the company level, UPM offers equal, competitive benefits and incentives to all its employees, and as a modern employer, UPM has a long-term commitment to develop those. UPM wants to negotiate flexible ways of organising work, working hours and salaries, as well as competence development within businesses with Paperworkers' Union and employee representatives.

Paperworkers' Union has previously stated that UPM's employee representatives cannot participate in collective bargaining, and all negotiations are to be held with the union management. From the business and employee perspective, UPM considers that it is essential that the voice of personnel is directly heard in the collective bargaining negotiations. The competent employee representatives know the business circumstances and therefore have an essential role in negotiations. Paperworkers' Union's policy of opposing employee representation in the negotiations contradicts the fact that, at the same time, trade unions are publicly calling for an increase in the role of employee representatives within companies.

The new negotiating team would include a much larger group of people than before: business management and local employee representatives would bring much-needed understanding of business and the everyday work at the mills to the discussions.

UPM delivers renewable and responsible solutions and innovate for a future beyond fossils across six business areas: UPM Biorefining, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Specialty Papers, UPM Communication Papers and UPM Plywood.

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