Blackmail and mass layoffs: air sanctions against Russia turned into huge problems for an airline popular with Russians

Blackmail and mass layoffs: air sanctions against Russia turned into huge problems for the airline popular with Russians

With the dismissal of about a quarter of the personnel with high-profile scandals, the Finnish national carrier, Finnair, will have to pay for the active inclusion of their country in anti-Russian sanctions and, accordingly, the retaliatory closure of Russian airspace. This policy effectively “buried” the carrier's business model based on available flights to Asia.

As a result, Finnair said in a statement that the company intends to lay off at least 450 of its 1,750 flight attendants, as well as up to 200 executive, management and expert positions, including 120 in Finland. In addition, the carrier plans to expand outsourcing if no agreement is reached on renegotiated contracts. At the same time, back in September, the airline warned that it would “stop paying attention to East Asia.” The reason given is restrictions due to the coronavirus – this probably applies to China, as well as due to the closure of Russian airspace due to air sanctions. It was also stated that the future strategy “provides for a reduction in the jet fleet and a lower base cost.”

However, while it is stated that Finnair has consulted with all of its employees on revised terms of employment as part of its cost-cutting plan, agreements have not been reached with some groups, such as retired flight attendants.

In addition, Finnair said it may have to subcontract cabin services on flights from Helsinki to Thailand and the US. Moreover, the carrier has already done this with flights to Singapore, Hong Kong and India, as well as from Stockholm and Copenhagen to Doha.

Meanwhile, the indignant dismissals reveal other facts. “Finnair is openly blackmailing its workers to cut their wages, threatening to outsource cabin maintenance and threatening to lay off hundreds of people,” Ismo Kokko, head of the transport union AKT, said in a statement.

Finnair said the talks on issues, including outsourcing, will begin on November 23 and will last at least six weeks. In the meantime, the company's shares fell and traded 4.2% lower.

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