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Last Updated: Friday, 1 July, 2005, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK
Costly Finnish paper strike ends
Machinery in a Finnish paper plant
Paper production should soon be running at full capacity
Finland's paper manufacturing industry is weighing up the cost of a crippling seven-week paper strike which has finally come to an end.

Analysts estimate that the dispute has cost Finland's paper industry 40m euros (27m) per day in lost sales.

The row over pay and holiday stoppages closed dozens of mills across Finland and affected more than 24,000 workers.

On Friday, unions and employers gave final backing to a new three-year work and pay package agreed on Wednesday.

As a result staff are heading back into the workplace and paper machines are expected to be running at full capacity by next week.

Costly action

Paper accounts for one-quarter of Finland's exports.

Experts claim the dispute has cost the country as much as 1.5bn euros in export earnings, while the government said it had lost at least 40m euros in tax revenues.

Meanwhile, such is the importance of the paper industry to Finland's economy, that the government has warned that the strike could cut one percentage point off the country's economic growth target.

The strike also hit other sectors such as transport where losses ran to more than 10m euros a week.

The row began in November, when forest industry employers opted not to take part in nationwide pay talks.

The conflict then escalated and lock-outs began on 18 May when firms - including Stora Enso and UPM-Kymmene - shut out staff after weeks of union protests and wildcat strikes.

The dispute had also prompted fears of a paper shortage in Europe - Finland produces about 4% of the world's total paper market but its share of the European magazine paper market is approximately 60%.

Finland's paper strike set to end
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21 Jun 05 |  Business
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Finnish strike may hit local jobs
09 Jun 05 |  Cornwall

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