Finnish Stevedore Strike Halts Traffic

Monday, January 22, 2001
Three-quarters of Finnish export traffic was halted on Monday by a stevedores strike after the failure of weekend talks between between employer and employee representatives. Around 3,500 stevedores are taking part, affecting foreign trade worth around $187.7 million per day, said the Confederation of Finnish Industry and Employers (TT). Nokia Oyj Abp, Finland's single largest exporter and the world's largest mobile phone manufacturer, said its operations would not, for the time being, be affected as most of its export products were delivered by air. But the timber industry, which is also a significant exporter and is heavily dependent on ports, voiced concern. "If prolonged, the strike will, in practice, lead to a halt in Finnish exports," said Jussi Sarvikas, Vice-President Logistics at UPM-Kymmene, the world's fourth biggest paper and board manufacturer. "We are waiting patiently to see which direction today's talks take." The walkout threat had seemed to fade after a tentative deal between the Finnish Transport Workers' Union (AKT) and port operator Steveco was reached on Friday, but local negotiations at the eastern ports of Kotka and Hamina at the weekend failed. Talks, which focused on the fate of around 30 of 130 stevedores fired by Steveco due to a decreased workload at Kotka and Hamina, were continuing on Monday. - (Reuters)

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