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Air traffic controllers plan work stoppage over stalled contract talks

Air traffic controllers plan weekly two-hour work stoppages starting from 4 January.

Image: Kaisa Siren / AOP

SLJY, the union representing air traffic controllers in Finland have announced that members will begin a series of work stoppages over stalled contract talks with Palta, the union representing their employers.

The two-hour work stoppages are due to begin on Friday 4 January and will take place weekly thereafter every Thursday between 1.00 and 3.00pm, the union said.

SLJY said that negotiations on new job contracts that began in October 2017 broke off without any progress on Friday.

SLJY chair Roy Myrberg issued a statement saying that employer ANS Finland as well as Palta had not demonstrated any desire to broker an agreement in spite of the long drawn out talks.

"SLJY has been forced to issue a warning of industrial action in order to genuinely negotiate and settle job contracts. We regret any inconvenience caused to passengers and hope the situation will be resolved with negotiations," Myrberg added.

Employers' representative Palta responded with a statement of its own, saying that the SLJY had received several outline offers but had spurned them all.

Air traffic controller shop steward Katariina Syväys said in a separate release that controllers hoped to resolve the dispute over contracts before Christmas.

In this way, ANS Finland would have been able to begin operating as part of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency or Väylä, a new government body responsible for tasks such as road, rail and maritime traffic control, road maintenance and traffic licenses. ANS Finland will become part of a new agency in the Väylä group known as Traffic Management Finland.

National Conciliator Vuokko Piekkala is due to meet with employee and employer representatives on 28 December to hammer out a deal.