On Wednesday 23 January Swedish television broadcast a report on migrant workers who had been hired by a contractor to plant trees on land owned by Holmen and other Swedish forest owners. The report claimed the workers had been paid less than agreed and also suffered poor working and living conditions.
This situation first came to Holmen’s attention in November.
It is fundamental Holmen policy that everyone working for Holmen directly or indirectly has the right to be paid according to Swedish labour market standards, to have a good working environment, and to have good conditions in all other respects.
As part of the purchasing process, Holmens contractors must certify that the workers will be paid according to Swedish labour market standards. They are all controlled by the Swedish union of forestry, wood and graphical workers (GS). The contractors must also be PEFC-certified and controlled by an external accountant.
In November, Holmen immediately started reviewing our internal routines, purchasing procedures and supplier assessments to ensure that such a situation cannot occur again on Holmen land. Skogsnicke AB will under no circumstances be permitted to work for Holmen again. Holmen regards the current situation as extremely regrettable and welcome all steps being taken to resolve it as soon as possible.
The 24 of January the forestry employers’ confederation (SLA) representing the contractor at the heart of the dispute, Skogsnicke AB and the Swedish union of forestry, wood and graphical workers (GS) agreed to recalculate the workers’ wages so that they receive the full payment to which they are entitled. These recalculations are now underway. After the current recalculations are finalised we will decide whether any further action is necessary in this particular case.