Finnish seafarers threaten to strike from March 1

The Finnish Seafarers’ Union threatened on Thursday it would call its members out on strike from March 1, stopping all Finnish passenger and cargo vessels, including ice-breakers, if its pay demands are not met.

Shipping is crucial for Finland’s economy, with more than four fifths of foreign trade passing through its ports, according to official customs statistics for 2017.

The union began pay negotiations over a deal for the next two years with the Finnish Shipowners’ Association at the start of the month.

The shipowners’ association said the union was seeking a pay rise of more than 2.5 percent for the first year, coupled with changes in contracts which would cost employers a similar amount, followed by another pay rise of more than 2.5 percent in the second year.