After more than two weeks, the Finnish postal service strike has ended, as announced on Wednesday morning by national mediator Vuokko Piekkala and the postal workers' main union (PAU).
PAUn lakot päättyvät heti. Töihin on palattava mahdollisuuksien mukaan seuraavaksi alkavaan työvuoroon. Toivomme, että työpaikoille palautuisi mahdollisimman pian työrauha. Kiitämme kaikkia PAUn työtaisteluja tukeneita liittoja,kansalaisia ja ennen kaikkea omia jäseniämme. #posti— Ammattiliitto PAU (@PAU_liitto) November 27, 2019
According to Heidi Nieminen, Chair of the PAU union, postal workers will return to work in the next possible shift.
Sympathiy strikes, for example those announced by the ferries and the railway service workers for the next week in southern Finland are also cancelled.
'Ready' for Christmas and Black Friday
The company has informed its willingness to deliver as soon as possible all the mail accumulated in the days of this strike, which began on November 11.
The agreement would ensure also that all the Christmas mail will arrive in time. Online shopping deliveries for Black Friday also worried the company. Now, Posti says they can be done.
"We are ready for the Black Friday peak season of online sales as well as the Christmas peak season. We will restore our normal operations as soon as possible. We were able to take care of some of the deliveries during the strike, avoiding a bad congestion. We would like to thank our customers for their faith and patience during the strike. All of our services are now back in use, and new mail can be sent," says Jarmo Ainasoja, Head of Exception Management at Posti.
According to the current estimate, most of the shipments delayed by the strike can be delivered by Christmas at the latest. A small number of shipments may be delayed until early January. The estimate will become clearer once the mail delivery work has commenced, the company says.
Workers return to previous collective agreement
The origin of the conflict was the company's decision to transfer 700 workers in parcel sorting services under the scope of a new collective agreement negotiated by Teollisuusliitto (Finnish Industrial Union) and Medialiitto (Finnmedia) on behalf of the outsourced subsidiary Posti Palvelut Oy.
PAU union estimates this would mean wage cuts to as much as 30% and important reductions on other work conditions.
The agreement reached by the employer and the employees provides for those 700 workers to return to the previous collective agreement, negotiated by PAU and the Palta employers' organization. The agreement will be in force until January 2022.
Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne said it is "excellent" that both parties have reached an agreement in the middle of such a difficult labour dispute. And he remarked the importance for a state-owned company of not undermining the employees' working conditions.
Erinomaista, että osapuolet ovat päässeet sopimukseen vaikeassa työriitatilanteessa. Valtio-omistaja on pitänyt koko ajan tärkeänä, että työntekijöiden työehtoja ei poljeta. Kiitos molemmille osapuolille ja sovittelijalle sekä selvitysryhmän henkilöille prosessin läpiviennistä.— Antti Rinne (@AnttiRinnepj) November 27, 2019
Minister of Local Government Sirpa Paatero said in a press release that the Government is "very pleased" with the agreement and with the end of the strike.
“I wish to thank both parties to the negotiations for finding a solution, and the National Conciliator for her key input in reaching the agreement. I also thank the four prominent labour market experts appointed to settle the dispute for their good work. I am very pleased that an agreement has now been reached, the strikes are over, and Christmas mail will get through,” she said.