Airport staff in Finland is striking in solidarity with Finnish postal workers. Meanwhile, Italian air traffic control specialists are also staging a walkout. Further strikes are planned later in December.
Finnair had to cancel 276 flights scheduled for Sunday and Monday. Around 20,000 people were affected by these flight disruptions.
In Finland, the workers at the publicly-owned postal service Posti have been on strike over pay cuts for about two weeks now. Several other labor unions threatened to strike in solidarity should there be no progress in negotiations with the government. As there was no agreement reached on Sunday, the Finnish airport workers’ union went on strike. The strike is not expected to last past Monday.
Meanwhile in Italy, the Italian ATC staff is staging a four-hour walk-out. They’re protesting employment position cuts as this creates what they safe and unsafe work environment. Apparently, Alitalia is suffering and this is reflecting on ATC staff as well. So far, Alitalia had to cancel or reschedule 137 flights. Of course, flights to and from Italy by other carriers like EasyJet and British Airways were also affected.
As always, air passengers affected by this delay have all the usual rights granted to them under Regulation (EC) 261/2004. For delays lasting more than two hours, the airline has to provide you with free meals and drinks. You should also be allowed to make two free calls, use email or send a free fax. If you have to wait for the flight for one or more nights, the carrier has to provide you with free accommodation at a hotel, including transport to/from the airport. In case they’re unable/unwilling to do this, save the receipts: all “rational” expenses (no VIP penthouses, caviar or limos) should be refunded afterward.
However, when it comes to flight compensation, the passengers are out of luck. The Regulation does not award compensation for flight disruptions that were caused by issues in airport operations. In this case, strikes by airport staff or ATC personnel are considered to be outside of the airline’s control.
It should be noted that a massive strike by the entire Italian aviation sector has already been announced for December 13. If you want to know more about strikes future, past or present, check out our handy strike chart!