Pulp and Paper

Finnish Forest Industries Federation Says Potential 14-Day Labor Strike Could Cost Pulp and Paper Mills Nearly EUR 640 Million

Editor's note: The following press release was translated from Finnish to English through a translation program. The original release was published only in Finnish by the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

Jan. 20, 2020 (Press Release) - The Finnish Forest Industries Federation considers it highly likely that the strike threatening the mechanical forest industry's sawmills and plywood mills within a week will materialize. Negotiations on new terms and conditions of employment with the threatening strike industry have hardly progressed.

"The [Paperiliito (Paper Union)] does not seem interested in genuine negotiations and agreement. It strives for a consistent package solution across all export sectors, and does not realize that the federation round is intended to agree on industry-specific terms of employment," estimates Jyrki Hollmén, Director of Labor Market at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation has a negotiating relationship with the Paper Workers' Union, which represents workers in the paper, board and pulp industry. Negotiations have also taken place over the weekend and will resume on Monday (Jan. 20). On Tuesday, the parties will meet with the national mediator.

"There is no solution yet, and very damaging strikes are threatening the industry. There are a lot of open things on the table," Hollmén continues.

The global competitiveness of the paper, board and pulp industries and their potential for improving productivity should be supported by wage moderation, working time solutions and the launch of a comprehensive reform aimed at simplifying working time and pay patterns. The additional costs of collective bargaining for downtime and outsourcing should be made similar to other export industries.

At least hundreds of millions lost

If all the strikes announced by the Industrial Union and Trade Union Pro start [Jan. 27], the damage could be huge. The entire forest industry would be paralyzed for two weeks, as the strikes would affect 110 mills and companies.

Strikes would result in widespread loss of production and longer-term competitive disadvantages. Losses in production would be the result of factory closures and production cuts, longer-term competitive disadvantages due to supply problems, loss of customer confidence and potential customer losses, and, more broadly, strengthening Finland's reputation as a strike-sensitive and labor-unstable country.

Loss of production in the entire forest industry could amount to almost EUR 1 billion over a 14-day strike. Strikes in the mechanical forest industry could lead to an estimated loss of EUR 270 million and the paper, board and pulp mills to almost EUR 640 million. The estimates are based on Statistics Finland's data on the value of gross industry output in 2018, when the economic cycle was good.

A paralysis of forest industry exports for 14 days would mean that Finland could lose up to EUR 500 million in export earnings. Paper and board products are Finland's most important export product, and the value of forest industry exports, according to Customs statistics, is over EUR 13 billion annually.

Strikes would also result in tax losses for society as a whole. The lost direct tax revenue from the forest industry in two weeks is approximately EUR 47 million. Further losses would come from other parts of the value chain, as strikes would affect the entire forest sector from the timber trade to transportation.

With irresponsible strikes, trade unions take control of all Finns — and especially their own members.

"After such losses, it is certain that the salary increase reserve will only decrease. In addition, strikes that drastically affect profitability, significantly weaken the ability to maintain industrial jobs in Finland," Hollmén says.

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation (FFIF) is a lobbying organization made up of 77 member companies that operate in the pulp, paper, paperboard, and packaging industries as well as in the wood products industry in Finland. Its goal is to ensure that Finland offers a competitive and innovative operating environment for forest industry production, employment, and investments. To learn more, visit: www.forestindustries.fi

SOURCE: Finnish Forest Industries Federation


UPM Says "Full Speed Ahead" for USD 3 Billion Pulp Mill Project in Uruguay

Jan. 13, 2020 - UPM on July 23, 2019 announced its decision to build a 2.1 million tonnes per year greenfield eucalyptus pulp mill near Paso de los Toros in central Uruguay. Besides the mill, the total investment of USD 3 billion also includes a pulp terminal in the port of Montevideo as well as investments in local facilities in Paso de los Toros.

In December, UPM published the following update on the progress of construction activities associated with the mill project:

In Uruguay the month of December is generally one of the busiest times in the year. Not just because of the approaching year end, but it's also the last month before the summer holiday season. The last few months have also been very exciting for us — since the investment decision in July we have moved full speed ahead to start preparatory work for our new state-of-the-art pulp mill in Paso de los Toros. In addition to the new mill, this project includes building a pulp terminal at the Montevideo port as well as other related facilities, such as permanent and temporary apartments and houses for construction employees, and infrastructure.

There are currently over 700 people working on the mill site preparation, housing construction in the outskirts of Paso de los Toros as well as on pulp terminal construction and dredging at the port. Half of the workers in Paso de los Toros and Durazno are from the region.

Several Initiatives Ongoing

Besides construction, several initiatives have been started in line with the regional development plan. These include both professional and complementary training, support for entrepreneurship as well as awareness building — for example on road safety.

The government-led Río Negro Initiative aimed at improving the conditions of the Rio Negro river has also established a technical office in Paso de los Toros. UPM is contributing USD 10.5 million to this initiative and improvement of the sanitation system of Paso de los Toros and Pueblo Centenario.

Active engagement

Throughout all this we have continued active communication and engagement with the local community and stakeholders.

In November we opened a new UPM office in Paso de los Toros. This serves as an information point and many people have already visited to learn about the project, UPM in Uruguay and the training and work opportunities that the project will bring as it proceeds.

[During the first week in December] UPM President and CEO Jussi Pesonen visited us here in Uruguay. He, as well as other UPM executives, often visit Uruguay to meet with the local team and stakeholders. This is natural given the importance of our current operations and the investment — USD 3 billion — which is the largest the company has ever made. On this visit Jussi Pesonen also met with the country's newly elected leader Luis Lacalle Pou in Montevideo to greet and congratulate the new President.

On Thursday, 12 December, we held a local information meeting to share progress with everyone in Paso de los Toros. Just like previous information meetings, we had a full house and active participation.

We continue to engage and share information through information meetings and on our project website at www.upm.uy/en/growth as we proceed. Knowing the importance of this project to UPM and my home country, and the positive impact that the Fray Bentos mill continues to have on the local community, it is both humbling and exciting to be part of this investment and share its progress!


2017 PPI Award Winners Announced at CEPI European Paper Week

2017 PPI Award Winners Announced at CEPI European Paper Week


Brussels, November 29, 2017 – RISI, the leading information provider for the global forest products industry, this evening announced the 2017 PPI Award winners at the awards dinner held during CEPI European Paper Week. The PPI Awards honor leadership, vision, innovation and strategic accomplishments within the pulp and paper industry, and are the only global awards dedicated to recognizing the achievements of companies, mills and individuals in the sector.


Total U.S. Boxboard Production Up 3.5%

Total U.S. Boxboard Production Up 3.5%

US Containerboard Output in September Essentially Flat

US Containerboard Output in September Essentially Flat

The American Forest & Paper Association released its September 2017 U.S. Boxboard Report.

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