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Finland’s Protracted Strike Disrupts Flights

Sympathy strikes from a number of groups in Finland are causing substantial issues with air and boat travel, leading to canceled flights, canceled ports on cruises, and trouble in the shipping industry; the sympathy strikes are expected to end on Monday but that won’t immediately resolve the backups.

Finland is on strike, and has been since November 11. The issue began when the state-owned postal service launched a strike because of the company’s plan to move 700 workers to a new agreement. Since then, other organizations have started sympathy strikes, including the Finnish Aviation Union, the Finnish Seafarers’ Union, the Transport Workers’ Union, and the Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors.

Travelers to and from Finland are facing a mass amount of disruptions, including canceled flights and canceled cruise ports. As of today (when the strikes are supposed to end), Finnair canceled more than 250 of its scheduled 377 flights. A spokesperson for the airline told the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, reported by Forbes, that even with flight schedules resumed, all flights may not make it out: “We’ll try to operate 120 of our flights on Monday, but it’s possible that they’ll be delayed or some of them have to be cancelled.”

Some flights on Tuesday have already been canceled due to effects of the strike and an inability to fly into Helsinki. Finnair flights from San Francisco, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, Beijing, and Bangkok will not be operating. FlyerTalkers flying in and out of Finland have reported very long waits for customer assistance via phone.

If you think that your flight might be affected by the strike, check the Finnair Departures and Arrivals page for up to date flight information. To ask or find the answer any other questions about flights in and out of Finland, check this FlyerTalk Finnair forum thread dedicated to the strike, or the main Finnair forum page here.

Viking Cruise Line also announced that because of the strike, several ships are going to stay docked. The shipping industry may be hit the hardest, though.

“With these large-scale sympathy strikes, the Seafarers’ Union is not only endangering Finnish foreign trade but also the future of the Finnish flag on our vessels,” Finnish Shipowners’ Association deputy managing director Hans Ahlström told the Helsinki Times, reported by Forbes.

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