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Finnair Strike Begins Thursday Morning

Cabin crew at Finnair will begin to strike Thursday morning at 4 a.m. Negotiations between the Finnish Cabin Crew Union (SLSY) and Finnair will continue on Thursday at 1 p.m.

Negotiations led by National Conciliator Juhani Saloniusto continued late through Wednesday evening.

According to Finnair press officer, Usko Määttä, the company is prepared to fly as many holiday charter flights possible. He said that some domestic flights and foreign flights would also be taking off.

Holiday flights are particularly full this week due to autumn break at schools. Meanwhile, most passenger flights will be cancelled.

The government appealed to both sides to avert the strike. Prime Minsiter Matti Vanhanen said he had been in contact with the National Conciliator. Vanhanen said the timing of strike is particularly troublesome as the unofficial EU summit in Lahti begins on Friday. Finnair said most summit participants will make it to the meeting, either on Finnair flights or by other airlines.

Finnair's cabin crew threatened to begin the strike early Thursday morning over plans by Finnair to hire 500 new cabin crew for its Estonian subsidiary Aero Airlines for lower pay than provided for in Finnair's labour contract. The pay level under the national contract is 30 percent less than salaries under Finnair's own contract. Finnair hopes to fly its busiest domestic routes and European feeder services in spite of the strike.

Finnair considers the strike an illegal action. It said Tuesday that because of falling ticket prices, higher operating expenses and tough competition, it cannot hire personnel at higher wages.

YLE24, YLE Radio News

Sources: Finnair Strike

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