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Finnair strike could snarl ski holiday travel plans

The Transport Workers’ Union threatens a strike from 22 February until 8 March, during the school vacation period.

Finnair cabin crew members could walk off the job two weeks from now. Image: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva
Yle News

The Transport Workers’ Union (AKT) has filed a strike warning with the service sector employers' group Palta regarding Finnair cabin crew members.

The union is threatening a strike from 22 February until 8 March, when most schools have winter breaks known as ski holidays. Traditionally many families from populous southern and central Finland travel to Lapland, southern Europe or beyond during the staggered vacation weeks.

The AKT said on Monday that the walkout would cover all work covered by the collective agreement, beginning early on Tuesday, 22 February – unless an agreement is reached before then.

Most schools in southern Finland are on winter break 19-27 February, followed by most in central Finland 26 Feb-6 March and eastern and northern areas 5-13 March.

AKT "regrets inconvenience to passengers"

"The situation is unfortunate, and the AKT regrets the inconvenience to passengers. However, the cuts in pay and working conditions required by Finnair are so unreasonable that they cannot be accepted," AKT President Ismo Kokko said in a statement on Monday.

The union said it "understands that the coronavirus pandemic has hit airlines quite hard", but argues that "employees have already played their part" in the form of furloughs and various austerity measures.

The AKT, which is part of the blue-collar federation SAK, has some 45,000 members. It is also staging support actions for striking UPM paper workers.

Palta is one of the biggest member associations within the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK), representing more than 2,000 service-sector firms.

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