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Finnair strike averted at last minute

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Strike action could have slashed revenues by €60mn

Preparations for a damaging strike due to start later today have been pulled back as both sides agreed on a last-minute solution. But some 130 flights remain cancelled today, affecting more than 6,000 passengers.

Mediated talks continued until 4am this morning without a conclusive result. A deadline for the parties to respond was set at 10am as a basis for agreement or for further discussions.

The Finnish Flight Attendants Association (SLSY) and the Finnish Aviation Union (IAU) initially issued a warning of industrial action to the Association of Support Service Industries (PALTA) on November 1.

This morning, however, a proposal by the Finnish conciliator Esa Lonka was endorsed by the parties represented by Palta on the employer’s side and SLSY and IAU on the employees’ side. Negotiations on the specifics will continue.

“Being able to avoid a strike as an end to the negotiations is good news for our customers, although it is very unfortunate that strike threats […] have created uncertainty and anger among our passengers,” Finnair’s president and CEO Pekka Vauramo said.

Finland’s national carrier had warned that the strike would have pushed it to a full-year operating loss. The airline had already cut its earnings outlook due in part to falling passenger revenues.

Cabin crew and ground staff were prepared for 12 days of strikes, with the first disruption due to start from 3pm this afternoon until November 23 and further strikes planned for four more days from November 27.

That action would have pushed the airline’s sales below 2012 levels, slashing revenues by €60 million and setting operating results back by €30 million.

“Each potential strike day would decrease turnover by approximately €4.5 million,” Finnair said. “The labour agreement negotiations are still ongoing and Finnair hopes that an agreement is reached to avoid the strike.”

Bloomberg / TTG Nordic

[pictured: Airbus A340-300; courtesy Finnair]

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