THE FINNISH Transport Workers’ Union (AKT) and Finnish Port Operators’ Association failed to reach an agreement on the terms and conditions of employment for stevedores on Sunday, according to the National Conciliator.
National Conciliator Anu Sajavaara told YLE late on Sunday evening that some progress was nonetheless made in the negotiations.
“We spent the whole day looking for a solution, but unfortunately we couldn’t find one,” she commented. “We’ll have to wait and mull over the solution for a while longer, but we’re close. There was clear progress today.”
Sajavaara added that the plan is to continue the negotiations as soon as possible but declined to speculate on the timeline.
Stevedores started an indefinite strike on Wednesday, 15 October. AKT has rejected the two previous proposals to settle the labour dispute, citing insufficient pay rises and stressing that it will not settle for the pay rises granted to employees in key export industries. Stevedores, it has stated, are pursuing pay rises of about 8.5 per cent over the next two years, comparable to those adopted in Germany.
Employer representatives have warned that such pay rises would threaten the competitiveness of Finland. Employees in the technology industry, for example, are set to see their pay increase by seven per cent in 2023–2024.
There has been considerable public pressure to find a breakthrough in the bargaining negotiations as the strike has effectively halted the processing of goods imports and exports at ports across Finland.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT