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Thu, 12 Jun, 2014 12:05:58 AM
PM urges for immediate solution
FTimes-STT Report, June 12

Activities at the ports came to a standstill on Wednesday following a strike enforced by dock workers.

The strike began at about 6.00 am when about 2,000 stevedores went for work abstention protesting against a letter of threat reportedly issued to a shop steward at Röyttä harbour who alleged that a Russian shipping company is using slave labour, port sources said.

Juha Antilla of the Transport Workers’ Union (ATK) said the strike was called as a representative of a Russian ship threatened Tornio’s union branch and their shop steward.

activities at Vuosaari Harbour in Helsinki also remained stop due to the strike. Photo Lehtikuva.
ATK’s chief shop steward, however, did not reveal the exact nature of the threat to the public.

“This is an unfortunate decision for us as well. However [we] cannot accept any kind of threat directed towards our shop steward,” said Arto Sorvali, the union’s secretary.

Port sources said the strike has had severe negative impacts on export-import trades and the country might incur huge loses.

Finnish Port Operators’ Association Managing Director Juha Mutru estimated that the strike could cost the export business up to EUR 100 million in losses.

“The exact losses is however difficult to calculate,” said Mutru, since orders can still be delivered at a later date.

Photo – Str / Lehtikuva.
On the other hand, Mutru pointed out that the strike could have long-lasting backlash, if Finnish companies go on strike because of customer relationships.

Confederation of Finnish Industries Executive Director Jyri Häkämies called the strike irresponsible.

“The action of ATK puts operations in work places in other companies at risk and causes extensive damages to the whole Finnish society,” said Häkämies in a statement.

According to Häkämies, the strike also violates the employment and growth pact signed in autumn.

ATK, on the other hand, claims the strike is legal as it does not apply to collective bargaining agreement.

Janne Metsämäki from the Finnish trade union confederation SAK points out that ATK’s action did not breach the growth and employment agreement.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen on Wednesday expressed the hope that a solution could be reached quickly to solve the dispute.

Finance Minister Antti Rinne did not want to take a position at all on the issue as he did not know the background of the dispute.
 

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