Finnish dockworkers reach agreement to end strikes

Finnish dockworkers reach agreement to end strikes

The Finnish Transport Workers’ Union (AKT) and the Finnish Port Operators’ Association have reached an agreement ending a two-week long strike.

Labour action had suspended the loading and unloading of cargo ships at ports across Finland since 15 February.

The deal applies to stevedores and will see pay increases of 6.3 per cent over the 25-month agreement term, with a one-off payment of €1,100 ($1,168).

“At AKT, we are satisfied with both the signed collective agreement and the end of the labour dispute,” said AKT Chairman, Ismo Kokko.

“The round has been difficult because the negotiations have included an exceptionally large number of external factors. From the beginning, we have negotiated our own starting points, taking into account the interests of our own members.”

The CEO of the Finnish Port Operators’ Association, Juha Mutru, added that negotiations were complicated by the economic situation and high inflation, which simultaneously undermined the finances of companies and fuelled the wage demands of employees.

AKT had rejected two previous proposals to settle the labour dispute, with its chairperson insisting that it would not settle for pay rises that lined up with the so-called general rises determined by key export industries.

The union represents roughly 45,000 members and had been seeking pay increases that aligned with those granted in Germany. Reportedly, the agreement will not introduce other significant changes to the terms and conditions of employment for stevedores.

Regarding the impact on other industries, employees in export industries will see their pay increase by around 6 per cent in the next two years and receive a non-recurring bonus worth 1 per cent of pay.

AKT has also recently approved new terms and conditions of employment for lorry, tanker, and oil product drivers, as well as terminal workers.

Since last year, there has been a global surge in strike action in ports. After months of collective bargaining, dockworkers at the Port of Felixstowe, the largest port in the UK, struck a deal in December 2022.

In South Korea, truckers voted to put an end to the strike action that disrupted the country’s supply chain for several weeks in December 2022.

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