Nationwide strikes paralyse Finnish ports, unions vow to escalate action

Helsinki, Finland - July 23, 2008: Commercial cranes, containers and elevated ferry passenger walkways are visible in this horizontal image of the Helsinki West Harbour.

Labour strikes in the stevedoring and transportation sectors continue in Finland, following the Finnish Transport Workers’ Union (AKT)’s rejection of a settlement proposal by the National Conciliator.

The AKT launched a series of strikes last week in ports and three segments of road transport in an attempt to secure pay rises to prevent the erosion of real wages.

The union argued that the latest proposal rejected offered pay rises that fall short of those in manufacturing industries and failed to address any other terms and conditions of employment.

The proposal only addressed pay rises, according to AKT, indicating that employers are unlikely to approve larger raises.

The union lamented that all text questions important to ACP members – which would have affected the working conditions of the employees and replaced the workload – had been removed from the proposal.

Ismo Kokko, Chairperson at AKT, stressed that in the mediator’s proposal “the percentages did not even reach the previously negotiated level in the technology industry.”

Kokko further emphasized that “the strikes are not intended to cause problems in the daily lives of Finns, the effects are aimed at member companies of employers’ unions”.

The strikes have had an impact on several other sectors, including can and bottle recycling machines, waste management services, and raw material availability at manufacturing sites.

Reported by local outlets, as a result of a temporary backlog at the logistics centre of Posti, the Finnish Post and Logistics Union (PAU) has initiated a sympathy strike, causing a delay of one to two weeks for letter deliveries and five to seven days for parcel deliveries.

READ: Port of Liverpool goes back to normality following pay deal

The truck, tanker, and oil product sectors strikes will continue until midnight on 21 February, unless a settlement is reached prior to that time.

Additionally, the terminal operations sector strike is scheduled to continue until 6.00 am on 22 February, while the stevedores’ strike will remain ongoing until agreements are made.

Unless a breakthrough is achieved in the collective bargaining talks, AKT threatens to launch another series of strikes on 1 March ending 8 March.

Strike action has rampaged worldwide through ports over the last few months, with dockworkers at the Port of Felixstowe, UK’s largest port, striking a deal in December 2022 after months of collective bargaining.

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

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