Published: 15/02/2014
Workers at Nestlé’s baby food plant in Turku, Finland, went on strike on 6 days in December 2013 to protest company plans to transfer directly-hired temporary workers to a staffing agency.

Of the 110 workers in the plant, 20 are on temporary contracts. Several of these workers have been on the Nestlé payroll for years.

The company claims that since it is willing to offer permanent contracts to seven contract workers and no longer has need for the rest, these would be better off in the long run at a staffing agency.

This was the tipping point in a long-simmering dispute in the plant over the use of long-term temporary workers and the proliferation of agency labour in the food industry in Finland.

The conflict was settled in late January through negotiations facilitated by the food workers union SEL and the Finnish employers association. The settlement includes restrictions on the use of agency workers to defined periods of peak production. This puts an end to the practice of hiring contract workers to work alongside permanent staff for extended periods of time.