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Finnair Will Keep Just 100 Cabin Crew, Nearly 2,000 More Will Be Indefinitely Furloughed

Finnair Will Keep Just 100 Cabin Crew, Nearly 2,000 More Will Be Indefinitely Furloughed

Finnair has taken the drastic decision to slash its cabin crew workforce, retaining a core group of just 100 cabin crew while indefinitely furloughing a further 1,900 without pay. Earlier on Wednesday, the airline said it would slash its October flying schedule by more than half because travel demand wasn’t recovering as fast as had been hoped.

The cabin crew union said there were questions over how Finnair had decided who would keep on working and claimed older crew might be excluded from selection. The airline says it has considered a number of factors including whether cabin crew are trained as supervisors or in Business Class service, and whether they themselves are trainers.

Along with a core group of 100 cabin crew, Finnair also intends to select 200 crew who will be offered work every other month.

Finnair has ruled out making cabin crew permanently redundant for the time being but employees have no idea when they might be recalled for work. In June, the Finnish Cabin Crew Association accused the airline of using cheaper foreign cabin crew based in Singapore, Hong Kong and Delhi to operate flights.

Meanwhile, Helsinki-based crew have been “driven into poverty” as Finnish taxpayers pick up the bill to pay roughly 50 per cent of their usual salaries.

While a survey conducted by the airline revealed that 90 per cent of Finnair customers were eager to travel, tough entry restrictions imposed by the Finnish government make that all but impossible. In October, Finnair plans to operate just 70 to 80 flights per day.

The airline had been hoping to operate around 200 daily flights but Finnair’s chief commercial officer, Ole Orvér blamed travel restrictions as having a “direct impact on demand”.

The cabin crew union remains locked in talks with Finnair over proposed changes to terms and conditions, including salary cuts. “We have been negotiating with Finnair for a week and a half. The only counteroffer has been a half-baked incentive scheme,” explained representative Johanna Tuomaala.

“Not a single proposal put forward by the employee representative has been well-received by the employer,” she continued.

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