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Metal Workers End Strike in Finland

Parties agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement.

Some 30,000 metal and technology workers at around 40 companies in Finland have called off a four-day strike after agreeing to a two-year wage deal proposed by a mediator, the two sides said on Oct. 24.

Workers were expected to return to their jobs on Oct. 26. at the latest.

"The parties agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement. The return to work will be taking place as soon as possible," the private sector salaried employees' union Pro said.

According to Pro, the two-year deal will run retroactively from October 1 until the end of October 2013.

It added that workplace-specific talks would now begin on the exact size and timing of wage increases. If the details are not settled by mid-December, employees will be paid a 2.4% raise retroactive to October 1.

Next January, workers are to be paid a one-off bonus of 150 euros (US$210).

The strike halted operations at Finland's biggest metal export companies, including Rautaruukki, elevator and escalator company Kone and engineering company Metso.

Employees and agents of defense and aviation group Patria and the engineering company Waertsilae also walked off the job.

The financial impact of the strike was not immediately known, but on Oct. 21 the Federation of Finnish Technology Industry said the industry stood to lose up to 1.5 billion euros (US$2.06 billion) in sales.

Risto Alanka, the executive vice president of the Technology Industry Association, told public broadcaster YLE the damage had been significant.

"It's great that the strike ended so soon. The damage is extensive on both sides, and it is good that an agreement was found fairly quickly," he said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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