MOSCOW, August 8 (RIA Novosti) - Finland's leading dairy company Valio may put 800 of its staff on unpaid leave as part of the reorganization plan after Russia imposed an import ban on the food products from Europe, the Yle television reported Friday.
The talks on the reorganization mainly touch upon four Valio plants out of 15. The four plants employ about 800 people, some of whom will be put on unpaid leave for an unspecified period, while others may not get their contracts extended. The company does not, however, plan any layoffs.
"Everything is caused by the situation with Russia. The talks were not a complete surprise, something of this sort was expected," a representative of the Valio Haapavesi plant said.
Russia’s move to ban agricultural imports from countries that have imposed sanctions against Moscow could cost the Finnish dairy industry 400 million euros ($534.1million), the Yle radio station reported earlier.
About 25 percent of Finnish food exports reach Russia, Finnish Food and Drink Industries' Federation (ETL) Director Heikki Juutinen said as quoted by Yle. Processed foods make most of the exports, two-thirds are dairy products such as butter, cheese and yogurt.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Wednesday banning imports of agricultural and food products from countries that imposed sanctions on Russia for one year. The ban went into effect Thursday and embargoes beef, pork, poultry, fish, seafood, milk, dairy products, as well as fruits and vegetables from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway.
The move came in response to several rounds of Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its stance on Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly called the measures counterproductive and stressed that Russia is not involved in the Ukrainian conflict.