Thursday, February 4, 2010

Finland Port Strikes May Continue To Beset Shipping

More Set for the 19th if Negotiations Fail
Shipping News Feature

FINLAND – The wildcat strikes that afflicted seven Finnish ports on Tuesday could bode the start of a period of major disruption to the Nordic country’s freight transport infrastructure if labour issues between bosses and the stevedores union are not resolved soon.

The core of the disagreement centres around the ports use of temporary stevedores at the expense of the jobs of permanent staff and in the severance pay that laid-off staff are entitled too.

The AKT union, which represents the stevedores and other transport workers, state that they believe that the port employers have failed to meet commitments made on previous agreements to establish a ‘transicurity’ fund, which is designed to support unemployed workers whilst they look for new employment.

This fund had, according to the AKT, been agreed upon in principal by all parties but negotiations on the exact details have achieved nothing and have caused the AKT to state that ‘…the employers are unwilling to find a solution to the issue that was already agreed upon.’

As a result the union has placed a ban on overtime at the country’s ports and warned that should talks to take place next week not achieve their aims then they shall call a nationwide strike for all stevedores from 6a.m. on the 19th of February, effectively paralysing Finland’s logistics network.

Though no one from the Finnish Port Operators Association has been available to answer our enquiries the news of further potential strike actions has been greeted with dismay by Finnish industry bodies, with the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries warning that should the strikes go ahead they could endanger future Finnish exports and the economy.