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Latest in today’s Helsingin Sanomat:

“Striking Finnair cabin crew getting support from other unions
Airline sends flight attendants e-mail instructions on breaking strike

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Striking cabin crew of the Finnish airline Finnair have been getting pledges of support from other unions.

Timo Räty, President of the Finnish Transport Workers Union (AKT) said in a newspaper interview that the union is considering a ban on fuel service to Finnair planes at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

Meanwhile, the Finnish Post and Logistics Union PAU has threatened to stop the handling of foreign mail at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, unless a settlement is reached in the dispute between Finnair and the Finnish Cabin Crew Union SLSY.

The Finnish Aviation Union IAU is supporting the striking cabin crew by starting a ban on overtime work at all companies offering airport ground services.

Finnair has come under attack from organised labour for efforts to persuade striking flight attendants to cross picket lines.

Striking cabin crew have received e-mail giving detailed instructions on how to come to work while the strike is in effect.

Matti Tukiainen, organisational director of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), sharply denounced the recruitment of strikebreakers. He said that such moves by Finnair harm an already difficult atmosphere in the negotiations.

Tukiainen says that the management side is showing the same kind of arrogance that was seen during a strike by stevedores last winter.
“Our response is to solidify our ranks”, Tukiainen said.

Soon after the strike began on Tuesday, Finnair warned that it could move some of its operations abroad.

Matti Tukiainen said that it is difficult to evaluate how realistic such a threat might be.

“In this kind of a labour market situation there is a tendency to shoot mosquitoes with a cannon.”

He added that he does not know of any other support measures for the strike, but he feels that it would be logical if the next ones would come from the transport sector – from rail or shipping.

Cabin Crew Union President Thelma Åkers says that she hopes that there will be a settlement to the strike soon.

She feels that the key issue is how a flight attendant can cope with working for 40 years in spite of the burden of plenty of nighttime work and jet lag.

“With millions and millions of people [in Asia], burnout is not so serious there. But in Finland employers are thinking of ways to get people to work longer careers. So we are on the same side here”, she says.

National Conciliator Esa Lonka had not made an official proposal to the two sides for further negotiations as of Friday morning.

Eeva-Liisa Inkeroinen, head of labour market issues at the Confederation of Finnish Industry (EK), said on Thursday evening that she was hoping for as quick a settlement as possible in the strike.

Minister of Defence Jyri Häkämies (Nat. Coalition Party), who is also the minister responsible for state corporate ownership, said during Parliament’s Question Time on Thursday that the state has nothing to bring to the negotiating table in the strike at the partly state-owned Finnair. He simply appealed to all sides in the dispute to try to reach a settlement. “

Hope that keeps folks up to speed.


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