Domestic freight traffic impaired, international unaffected as Finnish strike continues

Image: Flickr. Tuukka Varjoranta

All domestic rail freight services are cancelled in Finland as the strike of train drivers reaches its third day. At the same time, international traffic seems to be unaffected. The strike will continue until further notice as negotiations between Rail Union Finland (RAU) and Service Sector Employers Palta (Palta) have not produced the desired outcomes.

Tero Valtonen, project manager at the Kouvola RRT in Finland, explained that “everything related to freight traffic has stopped for the time being, and the strike continues until further notice”. A Nurminen Logistics representative confirmed the stoppage of domestic freight services but underlined that no effects apply to international traffic, at least for now.

The strikes in Finland involve train drivers represented by RAU. The union went on strike on Monday, 20 March, after collective bargaining negotiations with Palta that commenced on 16 January failed to meet their requests.

“The settlement proposal was worse than the previous one. It included weakening the notice periods for layoffs and the right to sick leave”, commented RAU. Another reason leading to the rejection of the proposal is that all goals related to occupational well-being were left up to the workgroups.

Another round of talks

Today, RAU and Palta are again sitting around the same table to negotiate and settle their dispute. The two parties have agreed to keep all their meeting information confidential. RAU only commented that it regrets all the inconvenience caused by the strike hoping for a solution to be found as soon as possible.

According to some industry information, the two parties might have reached a partial agreement. Yet, without a complete agreement on paper, the strikes will continue without a specified timeframe for their stoppage.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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