Post-war wages

The inflationary impact of war reparations was also reflected on wages. In 1945, the average earnings of a paper mill worker rose by about 83 percent for men and more than 100 percent for women. The wage rises were implemented as increases in hourly rates and various bonuses, as well as higher piece work rates. The Managing Director, Juuso Walden, wanted to keep the United wages policy individual, but yet with average wages a little higher than those of other forest industries.

Anna Häyrynen at the pulp mill in 1945.In the 1950s, paper industry workers' wages consisted of a basic hourly wage and various increments. At United, only the key skilled workers, such as machine supervisors, had a monthly salary. The most important increment was the productivity bonus, paid monthly on the basis of monthly output. The proportion of productivity bonus of total wages at United was one of the highest in the paper industry, up to 40 percent. Other increments were shift, piece work, commission, circumstantial, diligence and personal bonuses. In addition, there was 'whip money' and in chemical pulp mills special rewards for reaching targets and product quality. Thus, the actual hourly pay might be double the basic hourly rate.

At United factories, the complex wage structure was a direct continuation of the individual wage policy formed as early as the 1930s. Removal of increments was deemed to have an adverse effect on productivity. With the exception of United, Finnish paper industry adopted a collective wage system in the early 1960s. The matter was discussed at United, and finally under threat of a strike, a partial agreement was reached in 1963, and in 1968 the productivity bonus was included in the hourly rates. The next wage reform took place in 1971, when seasonal wages were adopted.

The ten percent agreements remained in force at United until the end of Juuso Walden's directorship, although in other wood processing industries they had been terminated in the 1940s. In the 1960s, about 14 percent of the company's employees had signed the agreement. Male workers' wages rose above the national average in the 1960s. The highest average hourly rates were paid at the Kaipola works. Clerical workers' salaries were individual, although general rises were also given. Overtime was deemed to be included in the pay of supervisors. A collective wage agreement concerning office staff was only signed by the wood processing industry employers' association in 1960.

In the early 1950s, working hours in a three-shift pattern were 48 a week, and on day work 47 hours. A 40-hour working week was gradually introduced by the mid-1960s. A five-day working week was adopted first in the summer months and finally in the spring of 1969. At the same time was started the practice of allowing extended annual holidays if they were taken outside the summer holiday months. The paper industry adopted a five-shift system in 1979. Leisure time increased when six-day leave periods were introduced in addition to annual holidays.