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Finland – Factory workers strike over temporary worker plans

12 December 2013

Workers at a Nestle baby food facility in Finland have launched a three day strike over the company's plans to employ workers with temporary contracts through a third party, reports just-food.com.

The facility in Turku, in southwest Finland, has a workforce of around 110 employees, of which approximately 20 have temporary contracts. 

The Finnish Food Workers' Union, SEL, said many of these temporary workers have been employed at the site for years. A union official said the striking workers hope Nestle recognises its responsibility towards these employees and cancels its plan to hire additional temporary staff via agencies. 

A spokesperson for Nestle told just-food.com that from the beginning of next year, the group intends to offer permanent contracts to seven Turku factory employees, who are currently on temporary contracts. "The remainder of the employees who have had temporary contracts will in the future be employed by a third party," the spokesperson explained.

The move is a response to a drop in the facility's need for temporary work. "People work in shifts at the factory and temporary workers have been working in the fourth shifts. In 2014, there will no longer be a need for many fourth shift weeks due to increased productivity from investments made in the factory."

The spokesperson insisted the change would not weaken the position of employees working under temporary contracts. "Being employed by the third party will in the long run benefit those who have had temporary contracts, as it will give the affected employees more opportunities to find alternative hours to compensate for their reduced hours due to the decrease in Nestle's needs."

The spokesperson added it was too early to say whether Nestle would enter into negotiations with employee representatives.

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