Finland's Spring Could See Shipping Strikes

Friday, February 25, 2000
The 10 percent of Finland's workers who still have no pay deal for this year are digging in their heels in preparation for strikes, which could have serious effects on the Finnish economy. The biggest risks of labor unrest are in sea transport, which carries 75 percent of the volume of Finnish foreign trade and where both seamen and stevedores are seeking better benefits than those who have already accepted pay hikes. Most unions have accepted pay raises costing employers around 3.1 percent this year, but the remaining sectors have asked for considerably more, employers say. The seamen, upset by shipping industry plans to move vessels to a cheaper foreign flag, have threatened to strike on March 6. If they do, or if the stevedores go on strike, Finnish exporters would lose daily revenues of nearly $100 million, according to estimates by the Confederation of Finnish Industry and Employers.

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