Sporadic violations of rights

Same as last year


Workers' rights violations


United Paper Mills (UPM) sacked the shop steward at its Kaukas sawmill (Finland) in April 2021. The company claimed it was a legal dismissal connected with closing one production line at the sawmill and with a “renewal of the management model”. Unions, on the other hand, saw the move as part of an attempt to undermine the trade unions, coming not long after the announcement that UPM was going to scrap the collective bargaining system.

Right to collective bargaining

On 8 February 2021, the Finnish forest industry company United Paper Mills (UPM) suddenly announced it would no longer negotiate terms of employment. Instead, conditions would be determined without any collective agreement, meaning in practice that they would be unilaterally dictated by the employer.

This decision was preceded in October 2020 by an announcement by the forest industry employers' association, the Finnish Forest Industries Federation, that it would no longer participate in collective bargaining. National level collective agreements would end, and all collective agreements would be done at company level.

Appeals from the trade unions representing the workers, the Finnish Paper Workers’ Union Paperiliitto, the Finnish Industrial Union Teollisuusliitto, and Trade Union Pro, to negotiate a company level agreement with them were refused.

On 31 August 2021, UPM announced it would define the terms of work on the basis of “labour law, UPM practices and personal employment contracts”. According to a calculation UPM presented to their employees, pay would drop by one third from January 2022 onwards. Many benefits agreed in the collective agreement would also disappear.

Workers’ rights in law

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