”An Orkla closure would be a disaster for our society”

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Nordic food giant Orkla has caused great concern in Åland – by initiating negotiations with all workers in Åland where the chips factory is of great importance for business.

The reason is that Orkla has several chips factories with comparable technology and wants to analyze the structure of the company.

“It would be a disaster for the Åland society if the chips factory would close,” says parliament member Mats Löfström.

The Chips factory in Saltvik on the autonomous Åland in the Baltic sea is an important component for the society’s taxes, Åland’s potato growers, food cluster and the transport sector including shipping.

It started in the early 70s and has been in Orkla’s ownership since 2005. But now the Pan-Nordic food producer wants to review the Group’s production and operational efficiency from an overall perspective that is independent of national borders. Even the staff in marketing and sales in Vantaa in Finland is affected

“We currently have several factories with comparable technology. Because of the overlap is too large a portion of the capital is tied to the maintenance of production lines and facilities. We must be able to control more resources to growth and innovation in the future. In order to secure our competitiveness in the long term, we have to review the Group’s production structure and factory network, “says Pasi Flinkman, Managing Director of Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Finland, in a press release.

The statutory negotiations will begin next week and is expected to last at least six weeks. After a press conference on Wednesday, Pasi Flinkman tells Åland radio that the whole production can be moved to another facility.

The other two options are the restructuring of the plant or relocation of some production.

Flinkman will not precede the statutory negotiations and insists neither is the most likely.

Orkla Finland has approximately 400 employees of which 103 work in Åland.

The Finnish member of parliaments, Mats Löfström, also an Åland-citizen, says it would be a disaster for society if the chips factory would be closing. He will visit the factory on Monday.

“No decision has been made, but now we need to make joint efforts to ensure that the factory has a bright future in Åland. I will from my platform in parliament carefully analyze what I can do, and do all that is possible in this matter, “says Mats Löfström.

Also local politician party leader Jörgen Pettersson says all involved on Åland must work together to secure the factory’s future.