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Finland faces 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

(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, stainless steel producer Outokumpu OUT1V.HE and Neste.

Oil refiner and fuel distributor Neste said 2,400 of its employees would be involved in the strike which could have knock-on effects on healthcare, heating, emergency services and food distribution.

The Confederation of Finnish Industries, Finland’s biggest employers’ association, estimates the strikes will cost the companies a combined 500 million euros ($551 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, David Goodman and Andrew Heavens