HELSINKI, Finland (AP) _ Union leaders accepted a government-negotiated wage hike on Wednesday, ending a weeklong strike by 30,000 workers that shut down most of Finland’s pulp and paper industry.
Employers on Tuesday had already approved the proposal by government-appointed National Conciliator Juhani Salonius for a three-year labor agreement that increases wages by some 4 percent and gives workers one extra day paid holiday a year.
Some 30,000 workers who had been on strike since April 11, began to return to their jobs in the afternoon and pulp and paper mills were expected to reach full production within a few days.
The strike cost the pulp and paper industry some $160 million in lost export earnings, industry sources said.
The central council of the Finnish Paper Workers Union accepted the labor agreement after union chairman Jarmo Lahteenmaki on Tuesday had recommended its approval.
Consumers did not feel the strike as there were sufficient stockpiles of newsprint and other paper. However, if it had continued there were fears it would have affected the chemicals industry due to a reduction in demand for chemicals used in paper and pulp production. The transport sector also stood to suffer if cargos of raw materials and paper stopped.