No settlement reached in labour dispute regarding icebreakers
The Finnish Transport Agency says no settlement was reached in the labour dispute regarding icebreakers and multipurpose icebreakers last Thursday, informs National Conciliator Minna Helle. A strike would completely halt vessel traffic in the Bay of Bothnia.
The negotiations between the Finnish Ship’s Officers’ Union and the Finnish Shipowners’ Association will continue. The National Conciliator proposes to postpone the strike by two weeks, so that it would start no earlier than 21 March 2018. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment may postpone the start of the work stoppage, if the strike affects vital functions.
The ice cover is estimated to increase until mid-March, so a strike would cause serious damage for maritime transports, industry and foreign trade,” says Markus Karjalainen, Head of the Winter Navigation Unit.
The Finnish Transport Agency orders icebreaking services in the Finnish channels.
“A strike would completely halt traffic to the ports in the Bay of Bothnia,” says Karjalainen. “In light of the prevailing ice conditions, only powerful vessels with high ice classes that can operate independently in the ice would have access to ports in the Sea of Bothnia and in the Gulf of Finland.” However, the weather conditions affect the ridging of the ice may significantly change the situation.
In addition to the strike threat, a boycott announced by the Finnish Shipowners’ Association may affect icebreaker operations.