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Union includes HKScan's Finnish parent company in talks with employer

Employees of the Rakvere meatpacking plant protesting outside HKScan's headquarters in Turku, Finland.
Employees of the Rakvere meatpacking plant protesting outside HKScan's headquarters in Turku, Finland. Source: (Kalle Mäkelä/Yle)

The trade union at HKScan's Rakvere Meat Processing Plant has involved the Finnish parent company of the same name in wage negotiations with their Estonian employer.

"The strike at Rakvere Meat Processing Plant has lasted more than a month," the Estonian Trade Union Confederation (EAKL) said. "Collective negotiations with the employer have yielded no result, as all decisions concerning the company are made in the Finnish parent company. Therefore, the trade union has also involved the employer's Finnish parent company in the negotiations, and held both official and unofficial meetings and negotiations in Finland as well."

Wage dispute nearly five months old

The wage dispute at Rakvere Meat Processing Plant began on Oct. 17, when 27 slaughterhouse employees staged an illegal strike, resulting in the dismissal of three employees. The employees said they were protesting against poor working conditions as well as the stagnation of wages, which have not been raised for the past ten years.

The workers then referred the dispute to the public conciliator, who was unable to reconcile the two parties.

The slaughter line employees of Rakvere Meat Processing plant are demanding a base wage hike of 16 percent as of Feb. 1 and a second 16-percent hike as of July 1. Also demanded in the strike announcement sent to the employer by the unions on Jan. 19 is that the employer not make changes to the way incentive pay is calculated.

According to the unions, this would mean an increase in the workers' base hourly wage to €4.34 as of Feb. 1 and €5.03 as of July 1. Based on the unions' calculations, this should increase slaughter line employees' average monthly wages to €1,079 as of Feb. 1 and €1,195 as of July 1.

HKScan Estonia, meanwhile, announced that they have decided to increase the entire company's payroll by five percent in the second quarter.

Employees of the plant began an open-ended strike on Tuesday after a final attempt at talks on Feb. 1 failed.

HKScan Group is a Nordic meat producer which produces and markets pork, beef, poultry, mutton, processed meat as well as ready-made food. While it saw €1.8 billion on revenue, the company posted a loss of €18 million last year. HKScan Group also includes HKScan Estonia, which in turn owns Rakvere Meat Processing Plant and poultry producer Tallegg.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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