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Deal reached, strikes averted in aviation dispute

The two sides in the dispute over pay and break times for air traffic controllers reached agreement in a last-minute deal in the early hours of Tuesday. As a result, the controllers’ threatened spot strikes, which were scheduled to begin on Tuesday morning, have been cancelled.

Työntekijöitä lennonjohtotornissa Helsinki-Vantaan lentoasemalla.
Image: Yle

The union representing air traffic controllers and the employers’ organization PALTA accepted the proposal of National Conciliator Esa Lonka in talks that went on past midnight.

According to the agreement, air traffic controllers’ salaries will go up by 2.9 percent as of August 1. The controllers will also receive a lump sum of 500 euros in compensation for the wage increases delayed by the protracted negotiations.

In a year’s time, in August 2012, the salaries of air traffic controllers will see a rise of 2.8 percent. Additionally, starting from the spring of 2012, targeted increases will be paid out at certain airports.

The new contract is valid until May 2013.

Air controllers’ union leader Antero Utunen noted that the issue of break times was tougher to negotiate than anticipated. PALTA deputy chair Harri Hietala, for his part, said that a lean agreement was better in this case than the alternative of strikes.

Had the two sides in the dispute not reached a deal, spot strikes at all facilities operated by Finavia would have begun on Tuesday at 6am.

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