. ....The bitterness that is allowed to spill over, at or near, labor negotiation times in B.C. is not a part of life here. Lately, the country has had its share of costly strikes, but possibly this is a sign of the affluence of life in so many western societies.
....It may seem strange to say that Finland, on the Baltic, is western. Don’t take me wrong. By this I mean it enjoys democratic freedom, yet it is not abused to the extent that we in North America now find it.

.... .... ....TREES ALL EVEN

I drove through a part of the forests of Finland near Pori on the Baltic with a Finnish friend. He, like so many others here in the forest industry, speaks of the forests as though they were a crop, to be nurtured, to be groomed, to be cut, to be restored. The pines, fir and spruce grow in a very even dimension, about a foot in diameter at the stump.
There is little underbrush and the trees are not heavily laden with branches. As a result, little debris is left, although they will do a silvicultural burn if they feel it will speed up the regrowth.
A common sight in the forest, on well-planned small roads, are the log-ging trucks with hydraulic mounted loading booms that load the truck, and possibly a pup trailer.
Selected ..areas, ..or trees, ..are felled and skidded to the roadside by small tractors – generally rubber mounted.

....Bill Moore recently completed a tour of Finland, and devotes his column this month to a comprehensive report on that country’s forest industry. In his first report from Helsinki, Bill not only talks of methods in the forest, but also delves into the industry’s labor-management system. He took the time to talk to people in Finland’s forest industry, and draws some rather interesting comparisons in the following article.

“Life in the Finland woods”

...................................................... ....I write this on the last day of my first trip to Finland. It’s a beautiful, sunny, mid-summer day and the downtown streets of Helsinki are filled with people doing their weekend shopping, or going about their daily business.
....Helsinki, like Vancouver, is the hub of industrial life of Finland. With a population of half a million it is also feeling the aches and pains of population increase, traffic jams, and a shortage of housing.
....Like Vancouver, care has been taken to maintain a feeling of the forest as we have done with Stanley Park. The city here, though, is filled with small parks, abounding in shady trees, pathways and a close-to-nat-ure feeling.
....I came to this wooded, lake-filled country not to find out the vital statistics of its forest products, but rather to learn what I could of the forestry people and how they have succeeded, against many obstacles,


......................................................... in maintaining a very positive place in the competitive world of forest economics.
....About 60% of Finland’s export economy is derived from its forest industry.
....In meeting some very fine, hospitable people, from workers to industrialists, I think I have found a key to part of their success. It is quite simply a national pride. A pride that goes far beyond the bounds of man-made political parties and station in life. It is a pride of being what they are – Finnish.
....I have sat with members of their production committees, and talked freely of their problems of employer-employee relations, and found a feeling from both sides, that although there are problems, both sides express a belief that things will get better.
....They have optimism and they have hope, features of industrial life that I wished we had more of, particularly in our forest industry.

BILL MOORE TAKES time out during tour of Finnish woods for photo with forest industry executive. Stacked logs in background await delivery to mill.

British Columbia Lumberman, October, 1971

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It is rather fascinating to see the stacked piles of logs, eight feet long and so uniform in size, along the roadside (put there with care in very neat piles). Some for pulp, some for lumber, and some for firewood.
....“Neatness” is the only word I can think of to describe the manner in which everything is done. It comes from a discipline of the people that is of nationalistic inheritance.
....I found it difficult and really not necessary to make comparisons in the Finnish methods of logging and ours. ....What is noticeable here, though, is the... ever-abounding, ...mountainless
forests, wherever you go. And really how wonderful the trees are of the
NEATLY STACKED LOGS NEAR Pori on the Baltic coast in southwest Finland show ord-erly manner in which timber is handled. Logs are pine, fir and spruce. (Photo by Bill Moore)
same size, and not too big and over-mature.
....Pity us on the coast of B.C. with our huge trees and our small ones, and the difficult decisions of utilizing the right type of machinery for so varied a forest. The Finns are on a one-hundred year rotation now. I wonder if that good old phrase “economic necessity” will some day lower that rotation. This is just an idle thought brought on I suppose by our system of needed cut versus good
delegates voted to the committee by the work force, comprised of two del-egates from staff or foreman level, and three delegates from management.
....This committee is bound by law to meet at least four times a year to discuss problem areas of the oper-ation. These problems would naturally vary from industry to industry and plant to plant, but I gathered the opin-ion that the areaof personnel matters is high on the priority list.
...Work conditions, housing, and some
safety matters would also be discussed or brought up by the labor delegates.
. On the other hand, management would relate to the other delegates the outlook of sales for the next few months and the need for continual good production.
The production committee does not, as I had thought, make decisions of production, nor have the interest to do so. This is management’s right.
....However, there are certain com-panies looking to the future, who now
forestry practice.


....Before coming here, I had for years been intrigued by the produc-tion committee method used by management and labor in Sweden and Finland. One should remember that by far, the greatest percentage of forest land is owned by private ownership or public corporations. And the management of these firms are very aware of their managerial rights, and run their plants accordingly.
....I was fortunate enough to sit with three different groups of such production committees and speak with the labor delegates and the man-agement people. As mentioned before
I found problems, but also optimism. .....To describe a committee would be to say that in an operation, or plant of 1,000 employees, there may be five  
A TYPICAL TYPE of vehicle used for loading in Finland forests is this truck equipped with hiab hoist and hydraulic tongs. Hoist, which can be seen at rear of truck, rather than at front, loads this truck as well as pup-trailer for transporting logs to sawmill. Estimated load on truck and trailer is 2,500 board feet each vehicle. This is the largest truck used in Finland (Bill Moore photo)
British Columbia Lumberman, October, 1971  

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are attempting to find ways of building up the use of the production committee system. It will be interesting to watch this develop.
.....Possibly a bit of history as to why there are production committees in Finland would give a better insight into why they are not functioning as profitably as they might.
.....Finland has suffered for centuries with invasions from Russia, Sweden and Germany. You might say there is a joy-ful sadness to her people in the songs one hears. These songs always tell of troubles and trying times. It is a national institution.
.....The long last war that finally saw the gallant Finns occupied by Russia left its mark on this country. Russia took over large areas of land for her own and left certain laws behind before her occupation of Finland ended.
.....One of those laws, placed on the industrial economy, was to set up the workers production committees in all factories, plants and operations in the country. This was no doubt intended by the Russians as a first step in the Finnish workers’ take-over of bus-iness from the majority of private and corporate ownership.
.....With the great demand for goods,

particularly forest products needed after the war, the Russians no doubt felt that private or corporate owner-ships could best get the production moving again.
.....They felt that installing the production committee type of economy as a watchdog, the workers would gradually move into a position to completely take over the running and ownership of the plants.
.....No doubt the unions, like in B.C. and the new production committee method, played an important part in the bringing about of higher and better standards of living for the work force.
But remember the Finnish employers were in a world competition for sales, and it was also to their benefit to bring about higher living standards for everyone. So, as the 50’s and 60’s flew by, in a country rebuilding from war, the production committee was a law of the land.
.....But it would seem fair to say that its use was started politically, main-tained as a convenience, and now for all in the future.
.....In future articles I would like to deal at more length with some interpretations I feel this production committee method could be put to use in our own industry in B.C. I hope there is interest in the system, though I certainly do not accept the method as a form of cure-all for management-labor problems.
.....But now from the forests around me in Finland I would close with this thought. We in our forest around us in B.C. sometimes forget that compared to others we have the land, the multiple resources and the technical ability that others in this world do not have.
.....Here in Finland I have been privileged with a view of a people who have pulled themselves from the depths of a war-ravaged earth, and united, have rebuilt an economy that is recognized the world over as strong.
.....The trees of Finland are small by some of our coastal comparisons, but they contain fibre. And fibre, not sawlogs, is the future of the tree. We will compete on fibre, not size – so let us mind our own shop well, and learn to keep a good economic eye cast on other forested countries of this world.
We in B.C. do not hold all the aces in this poker hand of world forestry, but if we play our cards intelligently we can stay in the game.
.....Now it is home to B.C. – and a jet ride over the Atlantic with our fine Finnair hosts (and lovely hostesses). I shall long remember the Finns and their forest around them – “Keetos Finland.”

Keep out of the bight,

British Columbia Lumberman, October, 1971