Paper mills end strike action after pay deal

A 10-day long strike by around 3,000 Swedish paper mill workers ended on Monday with a new collective agreement on pay, the Swedish Forest Industries Federation (Skogsindustrierna) has confirmed.

“The strike is over. We have reached an agreement,” federation spokesperson Lotta Larson told AFP.

She said the new collective agreement stretches over 22 months and provides industry workers with a 3.3 percent pay increase.

“The most important thing for us has been to reach an agreement which enables our companies to be competitive in international markets,” said federation CEO Marie S.Arwidson in a statement.

Aside from the general pay hike, the new agreement also provides for an extra boost to the pay of those on less than 21,300 kronor ($3,000) per month.

Some 3,000 paper mill workers from six different plants had been on strike in Sweden since April 16th, and the union had warned that 2,800 other workers in six more plants would join the strike late Monday if last-bid talks failed to secure a new labour agreement.

The Swedish Forest Industries Federation said at the weekend the strike had cost it more than 510 million kronor ($70 million dollars) so far, and that if the planned extension of the work stoppage went ahead it would lose around 100 million kronor per day.

“Everyone understands tat a strike is a failure for all parties. We will conduct a thorough evaluation of the consequences of this collective bargaining round,” Arwidson said.

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