The Finnish Aviation Union (IAU) and Service Sector Employers (Palta) have reached an agreement in their long-running dispute over the terms and conditions of employment of ground handling and security control staff at airports across Finland.
The work stoppages that were to disrupt air traffic later this week – between 22 and 24 March – have consequently been called off.
Minna Helle, the National Conciliator of Finland, reveals in a press release that the parties to the dispute approved the settlement proposal after negotiating for almost 30 hours between Sunday and Monday.
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“I am pleased that an agreement was found,” she says. “The situation was challenging due to marked differences of opinion and the principled nature of the issue. Reaching a settlement proved unusually difficult. The de-escalation of the situation surely came as a relief to both parties, as well as to all of those affected by the strikes.”
The work stoppages staged by the ground handling airports in protest of the new terms and conditions of employment caused the cancellations of hundreds of flights over the past fortnight.
The dispute was related to the terms and conditions of employment adopted by Airpro, a Finavia subsidiary providing services at airports, at the beginning of February. IAU was demanding that the generally applicable collective agreement for air traffic services be applied also to the ground handling staff at airports, while Palta insisted on continuing to apply the company-specific agreement terminated by IAU.
“The approved agreement will remain valid for three years. It will consequently alleviate the situation at Airpro for an extended time period and offer the parties an opportunity to improve their bargaining relationship,” comments Helle.
IAU and Palta agreed that the generally applicable collective agreement will be applied to the ground handling staff at both Helsinki Airport and Oulu Airport after an unspecified transitional period. Airpro’s collective agreement, meanwhile, will continue to apply to the ground staff at other airports in the country.
“The parties also agreed on airport-specific local arrangements,” adds Helle.
Palta on Monday described the settlement as “a satisfactory compromise”.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva