Finland’s air traffic controllers get new contract to end long-standing dispute

Planes on the tarmac at Helsinki Airport on April 16, 2010. Finland’s air traffic controllers and their employers have negotiated a collective agreement, Thursday, ending a dispute that had been dragging on since 2017. (Kimmo Mantyla/AFP/Getty Images)
The long-running contract dispute between the Finnish Air Traffic Controllers Association (SLJY) and the Service Sector Employers’ group Palta is finally over.

On Thursday both sides accepted a compromise bid put forth by National Conciliator Vuokko Piekkala. She had presented this third proposal late Wednesday evening.

Collective agreement negotiations have dragged on since 2017.

According to the employers’ association, the contract is in line with general market trends.

“The path has been long and rocky but we are pleased that the air traffic controllers’ collective labour agreement has finally been revised,” Palta said in a statement.

Staying on the job until retirement at 55

The union’s chief shop steward, Katariina Syväys, said that the negotiated result includes measures to correct wage imbalances at airports. In a statement she added that there has been a realisation that means must be found to help ageing air traffic controllers manage to stay on the job until retirement age. Due to the demands of the job, this is presently around age 55. The union has just under 300 members.

Palta, part of the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK), includes some 1,700 companies across a broad range of sectors from entertainment to IT and care services.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Northern Canada: union and territorial government blame each other as strike looms, CBC News

Finland: Air traffic controllers’ lockout set for ski holidays in eastern, northern Finland, Yle News

Sweden: Dock dispute brings harbours in Sweden to a standstill, Radio Sweden

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