Energy companies say a dispute between the Paperworkers’ Union and logging company UPM could leave some residents out in the cold.
Several local communities are bracing for district heating disruptions as forest products company UPM and the Paper Workers’ Union have failed to resolve disputes over wages and conditions.
Three energy companies are calling on the Paperworkers’ Union, which represents workers in the paper industry, and forest products giant UPM to resolve their dispute to avoid disruption to district heating.
The Paperworkers’ Union is set to go on strike at UPM factories on January 1, threatening district heating supplies in many places.
“Some cities are already shutting down their biogas plants and have started up their emergency oil heating installations,” said the heads of Rauman Energia, KSS Energia de Kouvola and Lappeenranta Energia in a joint statement.
The dispute is based on a dispute over wages and working conditions at UPM.
The forestry giant wants to be able to vary working conditions for staff doing the same work in different parts of the company, but unions are resisting the change.
The paper workers union has said it will exclude district heating operations from its strike action if UPM continues to apply the current collective agreement after the new year. UPM, however, said it would start implementing its own working conditions which were not negotiated with the Paperworkers’ Union.
Traditionally, Finnish union negotiations have focused on the whole sector, with a collective agreement guaranteeing social peace between unions and companies. This time, the employers’ organizations refused to negotiate a sectoral agreement, preferring to negotiate company by company.