“We are all part of the same team”: Ahlstrom Tampere is the best TES workplace in Finland

Ahlstrom Tampere Oy has been selected as the best TES workplace in Finland. In its competition announced at the end of 2022, the Industrial Union called for workplaces in the Industrial Union’s sectors where things are in an exceptionally good order from both the employee and the employer perspective. The criteria for the competition included straightforward and open cooperation between the employee and the employer and the recognition of shop stewards as representatives of all employees.

– Employees and employers need each other. We live in a kind of symbiosis. We respect each other and want to cooperate with each other. If we disagree on something, we can find common ground through discussion. We are all part of the same team, says Mads Kiilerich Plant Manager at Ahlstrom Tampere Oy.

– Being chosen as the best TES workplace in Finland is a great honour. This means our work to build a great team spirit has been noticed, says Teemu Heinonen, production planner, who at the time of the competition also served as the company’s chief shop steward. According to Heinonen, the employer cares about its employees, and the employees have respect and trust for the employer. The workplace has a strong culture of reaching agreements and finding solutions to problems through collaborative effort.

The collective agreement (TES) is well complied with at Ahlstrom Tampere Oy. The role of the shop steward is held in high regard. In the company’s competition entry, Heinonen stressed that at Ahlström Tampere Oy, shop stewards are engaged as messengers and negotiators between employers and employees. The employer also gives its full support to the training of shop stewards.

Both Kiilerich and Heinonen emphasise the importance of collective agreements.

– My personal view is that the collective agreement provides a unified framework that largely defines our playing field. There is always room for discussion, but the guidelines are laid down in the collective agreement, which really clarifies cooperation, Kiilerich explains.

– We often agree on matters more extensively than collective agreement requires, Heinonen reminds us.

– Rewarding and acknowledging Ahlstrom’s Tampere plant in the competition shows how important shared goals and co-operation is at the much-talked-about local level. Finnish success stories are best created when the employer and employees genuinely cooperate in the workplace, information is shared openly and solutions to various challenges are sought together, says Toni Laiho, Sector Director at the Industrial Union.

Ahlstrom Tampere Oy manufactures fibre-based materials and employs 73 people in Lahdesjärvi, Tampere. The company is part of Ahlstrom Group, which employs nearly 7,000 people worldwide. The Group has a total of 38 factories located in 13 different countries.

– Our factory is quite small. You could say that this is like a family business within a large group, Kiilerich ponders the reasons for the good company spirit. He cannot stress enough the importance of personal communication and that everyone in the company wants the best for the company.

Heinonen also mentions the family spirit.

– We have a really good team here. We work closely together, we are like one family. This is simply a really nice place to work, he describes working at Ahlstrom Tampere Oy.

– This recognition is also important to us because it will hopefully further strengthen our reputation towards students, recent graduates and all other potential jobseekers as a reliable, sustainable and welcoming workplace. We are happy to hire new motivated employees to join our company.

Heinonen agrees with Kiilerich that winning the competition further strengthens the company’s employer image. He has previously visited educational institutions to talk about Ahlstrom Tampere Oy and introduced students to the company as a attractive employer.

The main prize of the competition is an activity-filled away day in midst of beautiful nature. In addition to the main prize, the winner will receive a diploma and the right to use the Best TES Workplace in Finland logo in their communications. The winning team will also be interviewed for the Industrial Union’s Tekijä member magazine.

How is the winner selected?

  • A company may be entered in the competition only by a member of a local branch of the Industrial Union.
  • The company complies with the Industrial Union’s collective agreement to a T, and often exceeds it at a local level.
  • The cooperation with the employer is always open and straightforward.
  • The atmosphere at the workplace and in the entrant’s team is great.
  • In times of change, the employer always discusses matters with the shop stewards in advance.
  • Th role of the shop steward is recognised as one of a representative of all employees, and his or her position is secure and respected.
  • The employees have elected a strong union organisation in place.
  • The local branch has a strong role in the operations of the workplace.
  • The employer and employees understand the benefit of setting common rules in mutual agreement.
  • The winner will be selected based on an overall assessment of all of the above factors.

For further information:

Mads Kiilerich, Plant Manager, Ahlstrom Tampere Oy, [email protected], tel. +358 (0)40 170 7749.

Toni Laiho, Sector Director, Industrial Union of Finland, [email protected], tel. +358 (0)50 303 9272.