SOK's objective is to achieve savings of EUR 50 million by the end of 2015 by changing its operating methods and cutting costs. At the beginning of the cooperation negotiations, SOK estimated that the plans for increasing operational efficiency may lead to a reduction of approximately 270 employees. According to the decisions made after the negotiations had been concluded, the need for personnel reduction by the end of 2014 will be at most 240 employees, of which less than 180 are to be laid off.
The cooperation negotiations, which ended on May 14, concerned approximately 1,900 SOK employees. SOK has sought savings in all cost areas, including other than personnel costs, within all its functions and units. The savings will be accomplished by changing operating methods, clarifying organisations and improving the procurement of external services.
"The current economic recession, which has already lasted for a long period of time, changes in the market and competitive situation, and the loss-making result of SOK Corporation's service functions force us to reassess the services produced by SOK Corporation. The majority of SOK Corporation's services are produced at SOK. Significant renewal of SOK's service operations and even hard and unpleasant decisions involving reductions in personnel are inevitable in the current situation," says Kuisma Niemelä, Chief Executive Officer of SOK.
SOK clarifies its operations
The operating environment of S Group's business is facing strong changes. Maintaining the competitiveness of the different business areas in the future and safeguarding the operational preconditions of our business require better reaction speed and clarification of operations of SOK.
"The objectives of the reform are that overlapping work is decreased and the responsibilities of employees are clarified. In the future, SOK will focus more clearly on producing services that directly improve the competitiveness of regional cooperative enterprises at the customer interface. SOK's task is to ensure for its part that our customers get the services and products they want from S Group outlets," Kuisma Niemelä says.
SOK Corporation's actions to improve efficiency do not concern regional cooperatives, their stores or other outlets. The services offered by regional cooperatives to co-op members remain unchanged.
The cooperation negotiations that started on 2 April were concluded on 14 May 2013. According to the decisions made after the negotiations had been concluded, the need for personnel reduction by the end of 2014 will be at most 240 employees, of which less than 180 are to be laid off. The other personnel reductions will be implemented through not renewing fixed-term work contracts and other means. SOK will offer coaching to employees to be laid off to support the leaving personnel with the change.
For additional information, please contact:Kuisma Niemelä, CEO, SOK, tel. +358 (0) 10 76 80200.