Air strikes avoided in 11th-hour deal

Threatened strikes, which were set to begin at Finland’s airports on yesterday morning, have been averted in a last-minute deal between the two sides.

In talks that went on past midnight, employers’ organisation PALTA and the air traffic controllers’ union accepted the proposal of Esa Lonka, the National Conciliator.

The air traffic controllers will now receive a EUR 500 lump sum, to cover the delay due to the negotiations, and a 2.9 percent pay rise from the start the this month. They will then enjoy a further 2.8 percent increase at the same time next year, with more targeted salary rises at certain airports until 2013.

According to Antero Utunen, the leader of the air traffic controllers’ union, the dispute over break times was tougher to resolve than he had anticipated. Harri Hietala, PALTA’s deputy chair, added that the partial agreement was, however, better than reverting to strikes.

Had the deal not been reached, spot strikes at all Finavia hubs would have begun on Tuesday morning.

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