Flag carrier Finnair had to cancel around 100 flights on Sunday and Monday as the company’s cabin crew staged a strike due to salary cuts.
The strike was announced by the Finnish Transport Worker’s Union as negotiations between Finnair and its employees about ways to reduce costs to mitigate pandemic-related losses did not yield results.
The cabin crew strike is illegal, according to Finnair which said negotiations should have been held first.
But according to Ismo Kokko, the Chair of the Finnish Transport Workers’ Union AKT, a state-owned airline should not be blackmailing cabin crew staff into accepting lower wages in the name of profit. The basic salary of a cabin crew member is €1,600.
Still, negotiations are set to start on Wednesday, and are estimated to last at least six weeks.
Some of the cost-reducing measures put forward by Finnair reportedly include changes to layover hotel rules, additional pay-per-hour rules for long flights, and possible lay offs of up to 450 of Finnair’s 1,750 cabin crew members.
Though Finnair’s profit margins have been heavily impacted by the closure of the Russian airspace due to its heavy reliance on its Asian routes over Russia, the state-owned company announced at the end of October that it will open up 19 new international air routes this winter, bringing the number of available direct-flight destinations around the world to 130.
Recently, Finnair has also been criticised for opening a route to Doha in Qatar, calling into question the company’s regard for human rights concerns.
(Pekka Vänttinen, Daniel Eck | EURACTIV.com)