In a decisive move, Finland's air traffic is set to come to a near standstill as the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL, along with other unions, has declared a two-day strike. The strike, beginning on February 1, will significantly impact air travel across the nation.
This industrial action follows previous strikes, such as the one on October 5, 2023, which caused notable disruptions at Helsinki Airport.
The upcoming strike is scheduled to commence at 12:01 am on Thursday, February 1, 2024, and will continue until 11:59 pm on Friday, February 2, 2024. It will include JHL members employed by Finavia or Airpro.
The strike will affect almost all major Finnish airports, excluding Halli and Utti. However, it is specified that essential work tasks related to the protection of life, health, or property are exempt from the strike.
JHL's Interim President, Håkan Ekström, emphasized that this strike is a form of political industrial action, not aimed at employers, but rather as a response to the Government's policies perceived as detrimental to employee rights. Despite understanding the inconvenience caused to passengers, Ekström stressed the necessity of the action in light of the Government's reluctance to negotiate on crucial labor issues.
The strike forms part of the Serious Grounds campaign led by the central organization SAK, which opposes various Government policies, including social security cuts and proposed legislative changes that could weaken employee rights. Ekström highlighted the union's concerns about the Government's intentions to diminish employee security, reduce the efficacy of collective agreements, and limit the right to strike.
JHL has been actively involved in several political strikes since the autumn of 2023 and stands ready to escalate their actions if the Government remains unresponsive to negotiations. The union's firm stance aims to defend fair employment terms and conditions for its members.
Affected airports include Helsinki-Vantaa, Turku, Kittilä, Ivalo, Kemi-Tornio, Oulu, Kuusamo, Kajaani, Vaasa, Kokkola-Pietarsaari, Pori, Joensuu, Savonlinna, and Maarianhamina. Additionally, limitations are imposed at Rovaniemi, Pirkkala, Jyväskylä, and Kuopio Airports by request of the Finnish Defence Forces.