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11 February 2022

BPIF joins European calls to urge swift end to paper shortage

BPIF joins European calls to urge swift end to paper shortage

With European paper supply shortages now hitting the UK print industry, the BPIF has joined forces with Intergraf and FINAT urging the end of strike action at Finnish paper mills. 

The European print trade body, Intergraf, of which the Federation is a member, is demanding an end to the ongoing strikes at UPM in Finland, which began at the start of the year and are due to continue until at least 12 March.  

The UPM strikes have greatly aggravated the current lack of paper on European markets and now threaten the supply of printed products. Intergraf says printing companies’ stocks will not last until the strike has been settled and printers will not be able to fulfil orders. They estimate that from mid-February, there will be a 40% shortage in the paper needed by European printers. 

As well as being particularly detrimental to time-sensitive printed matter including the publication of newspapers, magazines, books and advertising, the BPIF notes growing concern for label manufacture. The European association for the self-adhesive label and narrow web packaging industry (FINAT) has warned that if strikes continue and label production is not put back on track, there could be serious ramifications for the supply of food, beverages and pharmaceuticals. 

As well as calling on UPM directly to settle the strike, Intergraf have written to the European Commission to highlight the difficult supply situation, as well as the rise in costs of raw materials and energy. 

In addition, BPIF Labels have joined forces with FINAT, the European association for the self-adhesives industry and eight other national labels associations, including counterparts in Germany, Italy and Denmark. Together these nine associations represent over 1,000 label companies, and in volume terms their joint membership covers over 75% of the total market volume in Europe.

The coalition has written directly to Jussi Pesonen, CEO of UPM and Petri Vanhala, President of Paperiliitto (the Finnish Paper Workers Union) in addition to making a statement. In their letter, FINAT called on the leaderships to ‘do everything possible to end the strike at the UPM mills as soon as possible.’

Ulrich Stetter, Intergraf President said: 

“We have real bottlenecks in our paper supplies. We can see that this shortage will increase in the upcoming months. This jeopardizes the rebound of our industry and our suppliers after the pandemic, and both will suffer irretrievable damage.” 

Charles Jarrold, BPIF Chief Executive said: 

“A shortage of paper is a grave threat to our supply chains and ultimately to the products available for customers. Without labels, packaged goods cannot come to market and consumers will suffer the loss of many everyday items – foods, drinks, and medicines to name a few key areas. 

“As part of Intergraf we strongly urge a resolution to the UPM strike, and we support the raising of the wider issues with the Commission. This instance shows that although we are no longer part of the EU, our domestic industry is greatly affected by Europe, and our work with Intergraf is as important as ever. 

“We will also be raising this matter with the UK Government in the coming days to ensure that they are aware of, and understand the seriousness, of the situation and its impact on consumers. 

FINAT said:
“FINAT and the national label associations are of the opinion that this strike is not proportionate to the lasting damage that may be created if it is continued any further. 
We urge all stakeholders (employer, unions and authorities alike), to take the European macro-economic implications of this dispute into consideration, and to assess their social responsibility to the wider European community in resolving this dispute.”
Notes to Editors:
  • Intergraf is the European printing industry association, representing employers in this sector. It is a Brussels-based umbrella organisation with 20 members from 19 countries. Intergraf’s primary task is to represent and advocate for the printing industry in Europe, working with European Union to support the sector’s competitiveness through advocacy, information-sharing, networking, social dialogue, and European projects.
  • The full Intergraf statement can be read here.
  • FINAT is the FINAT is the European association for the self-adhesive label industry. It also covers adjacent narrow-web product decoration and identification technologies.
  • The full FINAT statement can be read here.
For more information on this Press release, please contact Anais Bellemans at [email protected] or Carys Davis, Public Affairs Adviser [email protected]
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