The Finnish Seafarers’ Union (SMU) and Transport Workers’ Union (AKT) have issued a strike warning in a bid to add a sense of urgency to their collective bargaining negotiations with Avaintyönantajat Ry (Avainta), a nationwide association of private sector employers.
The strike would disrupt the operations of five critical harbours along the western coast of Finland – Kokkola, Naantali, Oulu, Rauma and Turku – for an unspecified time period as of 6am on 29 January.
Avainta reveals that the two trade unions are demanding that a new collective agreement be negotiated for their members, who regardless of their union affiliations currently fall within the scope of the collective agreement of Avainta.
SMU and AKT have also declared that if the employers brought in outside workforce to replace the 20–45 crane operators and port supervisors who are expected to participate in the strike, they are prepared to step up the industrial action. The strike could effectively cripple the operations of the ports and have a severe impact on export-oriented businesses.
“The possible labour dispute would be a harsh blow for exports – at a time when exports are picking up. The threat of a strike alone will significantly damage our reputation,” laments Vesa Laine, the chief executive of Avainta.
“This is a situation of utmost societal significance. We have naturally already been examining the situation and will discuss the issue with several stakeholders in the days to come. We will be able to weigh up how to proceed in a few days. Our objective is to guarantee that foreign trade runs smoothly.”
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi