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Railway workers, employers: Strike more than likely

Railway workers' industrial action could bring train transport to a total halt from Monday if no agreement is reached.

VR:n vihreävalkoinen juna ajaa raiteilla. Lunta maassa, ympärillä puita ja kerrostaloja Lahdessa.
The two sides have been carrying out negotiations since mid-February. Image: Petri Niemi / Yle
Yle News

The prospect of a rail network shutdown is now more likely than ever, Tero Palomäki, chairperson of the railway workers' union RAU, told Yle on Saturday after pay negotiation efforts with employer representatives ran aground.

The train drivers' union plans to start an indefinite strike from Monday if no settlement is reached before then.

"Negotiations are currently looking really bad...if we can't reach a solution, all train traffic will come to a standstill on Monday," Palomäki said.

The main bone of contention has been over splitting the costs of parental leave between employers and employees. RAU has also been asking for changes to the collective agreement to improve workers' well-being.

The two sides have been in talks since mid-February. RAU has rejected two previous settlement proposals.

Service Sector Employer's group Palta echoed the likelihood of a total halt of train transport from Monday, saying that negotiations had been exceptionally challenging.

"Tomorrow we will see if something can be done, but at the moment the probability of a strike is quite high," Tuomas Aarto, Palta's director general, said on Saturday.

Palomäki noted that RAU made a new proposal on Thursday to avoid a strike, which is yet to receive a response.

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