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Finland braces for fresh wave of strikes next week

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By Reuters
Finland braces for fresh wave of strikes next week
FILE PHOTO: Nokian tyres at the "Krepost" Toyota dealership in Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, August 8, 2014. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin/File Photo   -   Copyright  Ilya Naymushin(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Finland was set for a fresh round of strikes at some of its biggest companies from Monday after state mediators failed to negotiate a deal between industrial sector unions and employer organisations on wages and work conditions.

The Industrial Union, which organises workers in the metals chemicals and wood products sectors, and two more unions have said that about 100,000 workers will begin a three-day strike on Monday, stalling production at companies including Nokian Tyres, oil refiner Neste and stainless steel producer Outokumpu.

The Confederation of Finnish Industries, Finland’s biggest employers’ association, estimates the strikes will cost the companies a combined 500 million euros (£429.46 million) in lost revenue and hit the wider economy to the tune of 200 million euros.

“Mediators have today met with the parties in the ongoing labour disputes, but there are still no grounds for finding solutions,” the National Conciliator’s Office said in a statement on Thursday.

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation has announced a six-day lockout from Dec. 12 unless the conflict is solved, closing half of the country’s sawmills and plywood plants.

“No new meetings have been agreed,” state mediator Vuokko Piekkala said in the statement. “Mediation can resume only when the parties’ stances change.”

Finland has suffered a number of large labour disputes lately, with last month’s two-week strike at the state postal service leading to the resignation of the prime minister this week.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki in Tallinn; Editing by Anna Ringstrom and David Goodman)