UPM Pulp, one of the world’s leading pulp producers and suppliers, revealed that the company is experiencing an inability to fulfil customer orders due to the strike action crippling its Finnish mills. Until now, the unions have rejected this assertion.
The industrial action began on January 1 and, according to union sources, is the longest strike in the history of Finnish paper workers.
UPM, which offers a comprehensive suite of softwood and hardwood pulp for tissue, specialty paper, board and printing paper, wrote to customers of its Communication Papers business last week about the ongoing impact of the Finnish stoppages.
The company previously said that it would try to serve customers of its plants outside of Finland as much as possible. Nevertheless, in the Communications Papers letter, UPM said that it “had no options” to achieve that.
“Currently there are only limited deliveries from our Finnish mills, and we have no options to shift orders to assets outside of Finland.”, the company stated. “As stated earlier, this force majeure event will lead to the postponement of certain orders and we will not be able to accept or confirm all additional orders placed for the duration of the strike. We will inform you on a case-by-case basis if your orders are affected.”
According to the papermaker, the situation may culminate in the lack of distribution of essential products in the near future.
A paper industry source said that “certain large European customers do not accept a strike as force majeure and are considering taking [legal] action at some point”.
According to the unions, “a conflict caused by the company pursuing its ideological objectives” and not by working conditions.
Despite reporting on the problems caused by the strike, the UPM did not reveal the financial losses. The workers’ strike is expected to end on March 12.