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Finnish paper workers’ strike ends with agreement

HELSINKI, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) — Finland’s paper and pulp industry employees took up work again on Monday, ending a two-week strike over pay.

The agreement between the Paper Workers’ Union and the Forest Industries Federation was reached under the guidance of National Conciliator Vuokko Piekkala. The parties agreed on an average salary increase of 3.3 percent, said Petri Vanhala, chair of the Paper Workers’ Union, in a live telecast from Piekkala’s office.

Vanhala also said that the 24-hour unpaid increase in annual working adopted as part of the government’s competitiveness pact will be canceled.

However, Jyrki Hollmen, director of labor market affairs at the Forest Industries Federation, said in the same telecast that he was disappointment with the agreement.

Although production restarted on Monday at the country’s paper and pulp plants, labor action continues in the mechanical forest industry, which includes plywood plants and sawmills. The next round of talks in the sector is scheduled for Wednesday.

The labor action by 9,000 workers in the paper and pulp industry and by 6,000 workers in the mechanical forest industry started on Jan. 27. Besides salaries, the key issue has been the unions’ demand to cancel the extra unpaid working hours.

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