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Rail shutdown stopping trains on Monday

Finnish state railways VR says it will refund customers affected by the strike action.

Tyhjät junaraiteet Helsingissä kohti Pasilaa.
A rail network shutdown is starting the week in Finland. Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva
Yle News

A strike by railway workers' union RAU will stop all rail services in Finland as of Monday 20 March, VR said in a statement on Sunday.

The strike begins on Monday at one minute past midnight and will continue for the time being. The majority of cargo trains are also cancelled, according to VR.

Passenger and cargo trains departing on Sunday evening are, however, set to continue on to their destinations.

Customer refunds

As VR is cancelling all long-distance and local trains, the company said it will refund customers whose tickets coincide with the strike. VR said it won't charge passengers for changing booked tickets during the shutdown.

The strike by railway engine drivers relates to ongoing collective agreement negotiations, particularly in regard to pay and conditions.

"Negotiations between Palta and RAU will also continue during the strike. Our hope is that there will be a resolution soon," VR spokesperson Laura Ansaharju said in a statement.

As the strike has no end date, VR said it was cancelling trains one day at a time, with Monday's departures cancelled on Sunday.

VR said it will automatically refund in-app customers affected by the strike within a week. The company also encouraged passengers to alter tickets using the VR app as customer service agents may be busy.

Customers who have purchased paper tickets from machines or R-Kioski newsstands will need to log on to the VR website to claim refunds.

The National Conciliator's Office, which is mediating the dispute, on Sunday tweeted that the two sides (Service Sector Employers' group Palta and railway workers' union RAU) were still too far apart to find common ground, adding that negotiations would continue early next week.

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