An air traffic control tower at Helsinki Airport on Friday, 15 February 2019. (Credit: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva)

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A LOCKOUT of air traffic controllers will cause delays and possibly cancellations in air traffic during what will be a spring holiday week in Eastern and Northern Finland, reports the Finnish Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (SLJY).

The lockout is set to start at the eight largest airports in Finland at 9am on Monday, 4 March, and end at 9am on Monday, 11 March.

Service Sector Employers (Palta), which submitted the lockout notice to the Office of the National Conciliator, has assured that the lockout will have no major impact on air traffic, as all air navigation services will be performed by managerial and other senior staff.

SLJY has expressed its disapproval with the action taken by the employer organisation.

“We believe actions such as these are irresponsible. It would really be high time to end the long-running dispute over the terms and conditions of employment and return to the negotiating table as soon as this week,” commented Roy Myrberg, the chairperson at SLJY.

SLJY said Palta and ANS Finland have shown absolutely no willingness to resolve the dispute even though the bargaining negotiations have dragged on for almost 18 months. Palta, by contrast, has shifted the blame to the trade union by reminding that it has rejected two proposals to settle the protracted dispute.

“We are perplexed about what it is that SLJY really wants,” said Tuomas Aarto, the managing director at Palta.

SLJY confirmed that it has rejected two settlement proposals tabled by the National Conciliator. The first proposal, it says, was not in line with the general wage increases of 3.2 per cent, whereas the second offered no solutions to problems related to the ageing of air traffic controllers and the wage inequality at smaller airports.

Also the trade union has resorted to local work stoppages in an attempt to break the gridlock in the negotiations.

“Air traffic controllers have timed their industrial actions in a way that they cause no harm to air traffic or air passengers. We hope the situation will be resolved through negotiations as soon as possible, so that air passengers do not have to suffer,” said Katariina Syväys, a chief steward for SLJY.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi