Finnair cancels approximately 100 flights on 20-21 November due to cabin crew strike

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© Finnair

Finnair has to cancel altogether approximately 100 flights leaving Helsinki Airport on Sunday 20 November and Monday 21 November. The Finnish Transport Workers’ Union AKT has announced a strike regarding Finnair’s cabin crew in Helsinki between Sunday 20th Nov at 3 p.m. EET and Monday 21st Nov at 3 p.m.  

Flight cancellations and rerouting of customers began on Saturday and work continues today. Finnair informs customers of flight cancellations using the contact information provided in the booking and does its best to offer customers a new routing to their destination. Customers can also check the status of their flight in the Manage booking service on Finnair’s website, where they can also check that their contact information is correct.

The strike does not affect flights operated by Norra, nor flights whose cabin service is provided by Finnair’s partners, such as flights to Singapore and India, or flights operated by other airlines’ aircraft and crew, for example to Barcelona and Madrid.

We are deeply sorry for the concern and inconvenience this strike is causing our customers, and do our best to reroute our customers as soon as possible,” says Jaakko Schildt, Finnair’s Chief Operating Officer.

It is sad that the labour union has chosen the path of an illegal strike instead of negotiations. Throughout the autumn we have discussed savings possibilities with the unions, but unfortunately, we have not been able to achieve a result with cabin crew. We still hope to find solutions together,” says Schildt.

During the autumn, Finnair has negotiated with all of its employee groups on savings needed to restore Finnair’s profitability. Finnair made considerable losses and became indebted during the covid-19 pandemic, and the closure of Russian airspace significantly impacts Finnair’s ability to generate profit.

The primary goal has been to find cost-reducing solutions together with Finnair employees. For cabin crew, Finnair proposed changes for example to crew utilisation efficiency, layover hotel rules and to additional pay-per-hour rules for long flights, as the closure of Russian airspace has made the flight times to Asia considerably longer. As no agreement was found with the cabin crew, Finnair must look at alternative measures. Last week, Finnair announced it starts negotiations on plans to increase subcontracting of cabin service on long-haul routes.

Finnair’s traffic will return to normal on Monday afternoon, but the strike may still impact individual flights after Monday. Return flights for long-haul flights cancelled on Sunday and Monday will not be flown, and there may be delays and cancellations on individual flights.

The union AKT reacts

Finnair engages in open extortion against its own employees, in order to be able to cut wages“, says the union AKT (car and transport industry’s confederation).

The union has warned of a strike in the cabin services on the flights departing from Helsinki on Sunday, until Monday at 15:00.

The reason for the strike is the restructuring negotiations that Finnair announced it will start with the cabin crew next week. Up to 450 jobs could disappear as Finnair plans to outsource cabin services to another company.

According to Finnair, the company has held discussions with other personnel groups about cost-saving measures and has reached agreements with the others, but not with the cabin crew.

According to the car and transport industry association AKT, it is a walkout, i.e. a shorter strike, where people protest against Finnair’s personnel policy, against poor leadership and against the notice to lay off cabin crew employees.

According to AKT, the union has negotiated with Finnair’s representatives and the union is said to have come up with its own proposals for cost-saving measures.

The idea is to wake up the state-owned company Finnair’s management to the fact that it cannot have a personnel policy where you openly engage in blackmail against your staff, in order to be able to cut their wages,” says Ismo Kokko, chairman of AKT, in a press release.

According to the union, cabin crew personnel costs are only a small part of Finnair’s expenditure items, just three percent.

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