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Finnair "Threatened" Cabin Crew Union

The atmosphere during negotiations leading to a settlement in the dispute between Finnair and its cabin crew staff remained turbulent right to the final moments. Sources at the talks say Finnair threatened to divide the company up and make staff redundant.

Finnairin matkustamohenkilökunnan lakon osapuolet valtakunnansovittelijan neuvottelupöydässä 5. joulukuuta. Image: Yle

Tension was high during the dispute which lasted over a week. At the start, Finnair’s CEO Mika Vehviläinen publicly threatened to employ foreign cabin crew staff. Employees responded by means of sympathy strikes held by other unions.

Sources close to the talks say Finnair threatened employees with redundancies and a breakup of the company.

The Chairperson of the Finnish Cabin Crew Union (SLSY), Thelma Åkers confirmed this in a YLE interview on Friday.

“This sort of message was delivered to us during the final stages. Negotiations were very tough during the final furlong,” Åkers said.

In her view, the threat of redundancies appeared real and did have an effect on the final outcome of the talks.

Her view is, however, not shared by Taneli Hassinen, a Director at the airline.

“No plans exist to split up the company. Rather we have been examining greater co-operation with other European airlines with regard to feeder services,” Hassinen notes.

Talks over pay and conditions between Finnair and its employees do not end with this settlement. Taxing up to the runway next spring are talks with technical managerial staff and check-in staffs. Pilots join the queue next autumn.

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