UPM Stracel workers are concerned about the mill's future and took strike action yesterday. The company, in contrast, is optimistic to be able to sell the mill before the end of August.
Workers at UPM's site in Stracel, France held a one-day strike yesterday, 16 April. The French trade union Filpac GCT said that production ground to a complete halt for the day.
A spokesperson for the trade union said that employees intended to emphasise their concerns about the site's future by taking this action. Workers feared to lose their job after the company announced its plans to shut the mill unless a buyer was found by the end of August 2012. UPM confirmed the strike action and said the protest was prompted by a meeting between representatives from politics and industry to discuss the status quo of the paper mill.
In view of the latest developments in the sale process for Stracel, Hans Sohlström, member of the UPM Executive Board, appeared confident that the mill will survive. UPM still intends to pursue its goal of selling the paper mill by the end of August this year, he said. The company is reportedly conducting negotiations with five serious candidates. Sohlström is optimistic that Stracel will produce packaging paper or board in future with the majority of the existing jobs.
UPM disclosed plans to sell the Stracel mill in September 2011. The group had stipulated that the buyer must not manufacture publication paper. Regional efforts to safeguard production regardless of the type of paper have since been made in Alsace in order to secure these jobs.
UPM manufactures LWC paper at the Stracel mill, which has a capacity of 280,000 tpy and employs around 260 workers.