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Helsinki public transport threatened by sympathy strikes

Sympathy strikes in support of Posti workers could significantly affect transport if the dispute is not resolved.

Postilaisten mielenilmaus Ilmalassa
Image: Petteri Sopanen / Yle

Public transport in the capital city could come to a standstill next week if the Posti dispute continues without a resolution, after the Transport Workers’ Union AKT announced a sympathy strike in support of the ongoing national postal workers' strike.

If implemented, the 24-hour strike that would commence on Monday, 25 November at 3 am and will affect buses of local and commuter services in the Greater Helsinki region.

Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) will not be arranging for substitute bus services during the strike.

"Most of the shifts will not be covered. It is difficult to prepare for this situation, as the status of the cancelled shifts cannot be known until each driver's shift begins" Mika Häyrynen, head of procurement group at HSL, said.

HSL's transport is operated by 10 different bus companies — the biggest carriers include Nobina, Helsingin Bussiliikenne and Pohjolan Liikenne. Nobina accounts for about a third of the shifts, while Helsingin Bussiliikenne and Pohjolan Liikenne handle about a quarter of the day.

Authorities have said it is still quite unclear how many buses will be affected as not all drivers are members of AKT.

Aviation industry to strike in support

The Finnish Aviation Union (IAU) has also extended its support to postal workers by announcing a sympathy strike to be held next Monday, during which they will cease all work.

According to the Union Bulletin, the IAU members involved in the support activities are working on ground handling, technology, catering, freight, as well as airport security inspection for all airlines operating from and to Finland.

Employees of Finnair will also be a part of the strike, if it happens.

Posti service points, food services to be affect

Service Union United (PAM), a trade union for people working in private service sectors, expressed its solidarity with Posti by asking members not to handle packages and letters that pass through Posti’s distribution network and at all its service points.

Posti has a total of around 750 service points, including shops, kiosks, service and gas stations, cafes and pharmacies. The ban will come into effect on the Monday of next week if the postal dispute remains unresolved.

The Finnish Food Workers' Union (SEL) also announced a sympathy strike that will take place on 8 December if the postal strike doesn’t end by then.

As part of the strike, workplaces in the food industry will not collect, load or unload cargo for the transport of food through Posti, its sub-contractors and subsidiaries.

Ferry services to take a hit

The sympathy strike announced by the board of the Finnish Seafarers’ Union (FSU) earlier this week commenced today, making mail delivery in the archipelago difficult.

During the strike, Posti transports or packages are not being accepted onboard any crafts, ferries, and cable ferries in domestic and foreign vessels.

If implemented, the union’s extended support actions which may come into effect next Monday may also affect thousands of passengers on Silja Line and Viking Line ferry services.

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