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MARKKU KOSKI, STEVEDORE

Finland in the late 1960s was a good place to find work. Even people who only attended vocational schools usually had a job waiting as soon as they got their qualification. This was the case for Markku Koski. His first job was with a local haulage contractor. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt a year later, and Markku’s career in haulage ended up being short-lived. Markku nevertheless soon found work near his home in Reposaari at the Rauma-Repola sawmill, where he worked for 5 years until the mill closed down. Workers were given an opportunity to relocate either to Repola’s new workshop in Kirrisanta or to their sawmill in Rauma. Neither option appealed to Markku Koski, so he left Rauma-Repola for a new employer.

The very next day, in mid-December 1973, Markku Koski received an offer that would change his life. The then foreman of Hacklin’s machinery room contacted Markku and told him that the company had a serious shortage of good workmen. Markku took the opportunity and began working in the port. And that is where he has stayed to this day.

Markku still remembers his first job onboard a Dutch ship called Maasborg. Bulk cargo was first unloaded off the ship on the quay in Siperia, and the ship was then loaded with timber to be taken to Holland. Markku’s very first day was 16 hours long. But this did not deter the young man; he was hooked to working in the harbour. For a stevedore, every day is different. You never know coming to work in the morning what you end up doing during the day or which ship you get to work on. The job can also change half-way through a day, from one ship to another. Shift work also adds its own spice to the job of a stevedore. Some days you end up working considerable overtime, but these hours can be claimed back as holiday too. One key criterion for working in the harbour is the ability to brave all kinds of weather conditions. Stevedores work outdoors almost all of the time.

Harbour as working environment has been exciting. Jobs, ships, and people all change over time. It is this excitement which has kept Markku in the job for all these years. He has always enjoyed the company of his co-workers and found them easy to get along with. There are many kinds of personalities among stevedores, and bitter arguments are not uncommon. However, a good sense of humour and the right attitude are usually enough to diffuse any situation, and Markku has never had problems in that department. In fact, he misses many of his former co-workers and their colourful language. Markku has his fitness and good health to thank for still being able to enjoy the work, which can be extremely hard at times.

 

PÄIVI SJÖHOLM, OPERATOR

Päivi Sjöholm’s way to operator can be seen interesting, even long, but in no way stony.  After matriculate Päivi went first to school of household management in Pori, then to school of fur manufacturer in Huittinen and still to commercial institute in Rauma. Maybe there was in the back of the head an idea to act as an independent entrepreneur someday.  At the time of graduation Päivi got, however, an attractive offer for job in Huolintakeskus Rauma where she then worked a couple of years. She felt the branch so interesting that she sought admission in Rauma Trade Institute and got a study place on logistics engineer line. The first contact with Hacklin opened from there in form of summer job in Mäntyluoto office with continuation next summer. A period of practical training including in the studies took Päivi to Germany in 1995. Besides work experience she got good knowledge of German language during that time. English was already in her control after one year as exchange student in United States. Päivi strengthened her knowledge of languages still as grown-up by studying Spanish in high school on evenings and also by passing matriculation examination in it.

When it came time to take the final degree in logistics engineering Päivi Sjöholm returned again to Hacklin where she was able to make it.  After graduation in 1997 Sjöholm’s family had their firstborn child but after maternity leave Päivi returned to Hacklin in autumn 1998. Soon after that she got a permanent job as operator of Team Lines. Since then she has worked in different duties both in export and import. Today Päivi works as operator in business of sawn timber and project shipments and other export tasks.

Päivi has felt at home in Hacklin. The duties during the years have been versatile which has brought variability to the work and risen professional skills. Family-owned company Hacklin has seemed to be stable and reliable employer. A considerable advantage is also the location; it takes only few minutes to cycle to the office. Logistics is in a way also a connecting factor in the family; Päivi’s husband works as machine renovation man onboard a vessel. Over the years has specially been stamped on Päivi’s mind the time at the turn of millennium when the container traffic in Mäntyluoto was at its peak. Atmosphere was hectic and people worked in the open office of that time sitting side by side. Päivi still recalls thankful her former workmate, Pirkko Pajamäki, from whom she got much valuable information and the best possible guidance to transport business.

Compared with those times the way of working has changed enormously. There is much less people and the work has therefore become periodically stressful. Päivi has good medicines to balance it; the active mother of four-children-family has time for many hobbies. The oldest one of them is playing of flute, at the moment in the band of Reposaari Labour Association. In summer time boating and life in summer cottage with family are relaxing. The newest hobby is football playing in the local female team.

 

 

TAPIO SUNI, FOREMAN

The career of Tapio Suni began, as often in those times, as very young. The boy signed on a ship only at the age of 15 in 1965. Maybe it was homesickness which was preying on his mind when he already after two years came back ashore after getting a job as a helper in a transport company.  In the beginning of 1969 Tapio Suni got an offer which he couldn’t decline; he was asked to work at Hacklin.  He started 16.1.1969 although it became known that he should start his compulsory military service after a month. After eight months’ service Tapio came back and started the work which has continued to this day.

In the beginning Tapio Suni worked in stevedoring and forwarding jobs. 30.7.1970 he was appointed foreman on forwarding sector. In recent years he has worked mainly in reception and shipments of breakbulk cargo. Over the years the work has trained the worker but in addition Tapio has taken many kinds of stevedoring courses in Kotka Stevedoring School, “Ahto”. Apart from this the employer has offered short courses in English and IT. Nowadays it is impossible to perform the daily duties without these skills.

In addition to his work Tapio Suni has been active on trade union movement.  He acted over 20 years as shop steward of foremen. He has now leaved those tasks to younger men but is still going on in the background as supporter.

As the long career at Hacklin already tells Tapio Suni has been satisfied with his employer. So had been also his father who once worked onboard Hacklin’s vessels. The tradition is going on already in third generation; Tapio’s son is working in the harbor as a stevedore. Among especially memorable events along the years are the big steel projects at Tahkoluoto in the end of 1980’s. The shipments of open joint stock company’s steel mill in Russia demanded almost round-the-clock work. Time for staying at home was short and limited only for quick visits.

A big change in the long run is that the machine equipment has notable improved which makes work naturally easier. Bulk cargos of sawn timber have been changed to packages, standards to cubic meters. Big project shipments via Mäntyluoto have nowadays brought new, interesting challenges to the work. A huge change in the harbor compared with earlier years has been in using of alcohol. Still fifteen, twenty years ago the use was very common, only in the worst affairs had been interfered. Today alcohol is naturally absolutely forbidden during working hours.

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