Monday’s sympathy strikes hit flights, ferries and bus services

Most Finnair flights are canceled, and 1000 buses in the capital city region are impacted - but many services like international ferries and other public transport are running.

Postal workers on strike outside Posti HQ, Helsinki, 12th November 2019 / Credit: News Now Finland

A widespread series of sympathy strikes by unions in support of postal workers will impact flights, ferries and bus services on Monday.

Representatives of postal workers and employers met all weekend but couldn’t reach an agreement to end a two-week old strike sparked by Posti’s plans to move the collective agreement for 700 parcel force workers from one union to another. Workers say it will lead to pay cuts up to 50% for some staff.

Now sympathy strikes called by other unions will go ahead as planned:

File photo of Finnair plane / Credit; News Now Finland

Finnair flights

Finnair already canceled two dozen flights on Sunday and now says “we have to cancel most of our flights on Monday November 25 due to the strike.”

“The strike affects many critical functions, such as ground and catering services and customer service at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport” says Finnair, whose own staff are not involved in the strike.

Hundreds of flights are canceled on Monday both domestic and international, hitting more than 20,000 travelers.

Finnair will work to book passengers on alternative flights where possible but warn customers the process is time consuming. Passengers also have the option to re-book flights over the next few days or get a refund of their tickets.

Finnair is also warning there could be limited catering on any flights and that passengers should take their own food – and notes that baggage deliveries could be slowed down by the sympathy strikes as well.

“We are very sorry for the situation and the inconvenience this has caused you” says the airline.

File picture of Helsinki tram / Credit: News Now Finland

Helsinki region transport: 

The good news: local and long distance trains, trams, metro and the Suomenlinna ferry  are not likely to be affected by the strike. U-Line buses whose routes extend beyond the HSL are are also not involved in strike action.

The bad news: up to 1000 local buses on the HSL network will not be running on Monday due to sympathy strikes that begin at 03:00 and ends on Tuesday morning at 03:00.

“It will cause significant disruption to bus services in the HSL area” says the organisation although not all local buses are affected and some services are still running. These are listed on the HSL website in English.

HSL advises passengers that rail services will be more congested than usual on Monday and to allow extra time for travel.

“If possible, telecommuting is a good option on Monday. As there will probably be more cars and taxis on the streets than usual, people are advised to avoid driving in Helsinki city centre” says HSL.

File picture of Silja Galaxy ferry / Credit: Tallink-Silja

International ferry services: 

It’s a mixed picture on the ferries for Monday as sympathy strikes called by the Finnish Seamen’s Union mean that only vessels flying the Finnish flag are stuck in port. Companies with Estonian or Swedish-flagged ships can operate as normal.

Eckerö Line 

Eckerö operates the Finnish-flagged Finlandia on the Helsinki to Tallinn route so its three crossings each way are canceled on Monday.

Tallink / Silja

Any ships with a Finnish flag arriving in port after 06:00 on Monday will stay there.

The Helsinki to Stockholm route will continue to operate under the Swedish-flagged Silja Symphony. The Turku to Stockholm route will continue to operate with the Galaxy. And the Helsinki to Tallinn route will operate with the Estonian-flagged Star, Megastar and Europa ships shuttling back and forth.