Dockworkers’ strike ends; compromise bid in looming rail strike

The Transport Workers’ Union (AKT) accepted a deal to end the strike that has closed Finland’s ports for two weeks.

The Port of Kemi in northern Finland at a standstill on the first day of the strike, 15 February.

YLE NEWS 1.3 18:34  •Updated 1.3 20:00

The Finnish Transport Workers’ Union (AKT) has ended a two-week stevedores’ strike. The union made the announcement shortly before 8pm on Wednesday.

The AKT board unanimously accepted the deal, union boss Ismo Kokko said.

“A new collective agreement has been born,” he told Yle.

According to Kokko, there will be salary increases of 6.3 percent over the two-year contract period. On top of this, he said there will be a so-called “delayed instalment” amounting to 1,100 euros per worker.

Earlier in the evening, the National Conciliator’s office said in a tweet that a negotiation result had been reached in the labour dispute.

The dockworkers’ strike, which has been going on for two weeks, has virtually halted all exports and imports through Finland’s harbours and slowed postal deliveries.

The two sides in the dispute, the AKT and the Finnish Port Operators Association, representing the employers’ side, reached the accord in talks at the office of National Conciliator Anu Sajavaara in Helsinki’s Bulevardi. Those negotiations resumed on Sunday after the union rejected two previous compromise offers.

The outcome of the negotiations is expected to be approved by the executive board of the Port Operators group. It said its board would begin considering the deal at 7pm and that the content of the agreement would only be announced after its possible approval.

Bus strike ongoing, rail walkout looms

On Wednesday morning, the AKT launched a bus drivers’ strike that shut down up to 90 percent of public bus services in the Helsinki region and other major urban areas.

Also on Wednesday, Sajavaara issued a settlement proposal in a labour dispute in the railway sector, with a threatened strike looming on Monday. The two sides in those negotiations are to submit their responses her proposal by 9am on Thursday.

The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL) has announced two rail workers’ walkouts, the first on 6-10 March and the second on 13-17 March, if no agreement is reached before then.

19.56: Updated with strike resolution.

20.00: Updated with pay details.