Ministeri Lauri Ihalaisen puheen englanninkielinen lyhennelmä: Rexamin avajaiset 30.1.2013

Opening of the REXAM beverage can plant in Mäntsälä, 30 January 2013

Lauri Ihalainen, Minister of Labour

 

“Projects such as the opening of REXAM’s new factory in Mäntsälä are important, because times are uncertain both in Finland and in the rest of the eurozone. Structural change in the economy has been an enormous challenge for Finland, and exports have not fully returned to their previous levels since the recession.”

“Change is always a challenge, but it is also an opportunity, and REXAM’s new factory is a good example of how a new, sustainable business can be established. Finland has long experience of systems for returning bottles and the reuse of materials. The cans made here will be fully recyclable, and Phillip’s former lighting factory has now been transformed into a beverage can plant.”

“An economically, socially and environmentally sustainable business is bound to grow in the future, and Finland has tremendous opportunities in this area. New ventures in the forest industry will result from wood regeneration schemes, and there are opportunities for timber construction and the development of renewable packaging materials. Furthermore, the social responsibility of companies is growing in importance. The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) has published new guidelines and consumers are more aware (of their rights) than ever.”

“This year we should prepare for an employment situation that is worse than it was last year, though, at the same time, we need to build the future. I want to stress the importance of an active employment policy and building the ‘Finnish model’, and I want to see more people in work, shorter periods of unemployment and a closer relationship between work and education and training.”

“A low unemployment rate is necessary for the welfare state to pay for services for its citizens. The quality of social services in Finland may not compare favorably with those in the other Nordic countries, though in reality the difference lies in the employment rate. The employment rate can be raised by employing underused resources – the long-term unemployed, migrant workers, the partially abled and the disabled.”

“There is much worth mentioning in connection with the opening of REXAM’s factory. Recruitment has proven to be a very smooth process, with welcome assistance from the local authority and Mäntsälän Yrityskehitys Oy, a local enterprise development company. Some 500 people this past year have been involved in the factory’s construction and start-up. Because of the low unemployment rate in the municipality, most of the employees come from Lahti, a city whose residents boast about how prepared they are to go where the work is. Rail connections between Lahti and Mäntsälä are a help. REXAM has taken responsibility for a programme of training: employees have received two to three weeks’ practical training in factories that use the same technology in other countries: Egypt, the UK, Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Russia and Sweden.”

“The plant has also meant that experts and people with skills have come to Mäntsälä from around the world. The story in the press about a REXAM expert who had moved to Mäntsälä from Italy, and who had happily settled here serves as a good example. These foreign experts are taking Finland forward, and in this country we like to exploit the skills and competences of those who move here. The workforce with a foreign background in Finland is predicted almost to double by the year 2020.”

“The founding of the REXAM plant has been a demanding and novel process for the municipality of Mäntsälä and for the business and commercial services here. The municipal organisation has been ready to adapt its activities when partners have been in different parts of Europe, including Malmö, Moscow and London. The timetable for setting up the firm and the investment of 85 million euros in Finland in under two years have both been rapid processes, for which we have to thank the company for its efficient approach, its skilled employees and local partners for the prompt action they took.”

“The existence of viable cooperation between the municipality of Mäntsälä and REXAM is reflected in the fact that the company chose Mäntsälä as its occupational health service provider. Occupational health care is crucial for extending working lives. Predictive occupational health care can discern risks in good time and help the company to improve well-being at work. Healthy, motivated workers stay around much longer. As a brand new work community, you have an excellent opportunity to invest in the well-being, motivation and productivity of your employees right from the start.”

“Times are definitely not going to get easy and it is hard to say what the future will bring. But opening this factory is a positive step in a whole chain of events. I wish the REXAM beverage can plant that is starting up today luck and every success for the future, and the same goes for its employees, management and shareholders.”