Finnair has told its directly employed flight attendants in Finland that it could subcontract out their jobs to agency staff unless they accept major changes to their pay and conditions as part of cost-cutting measures across the airline.
The Helsinki-based carrier said on Wednesday that as many as 450 directly employed cabin crew jobs could be lost to agency staff – more than a quarter of Finnair’s directly employed flight attendant workforce in Finland.
Finnair has told flight attendants that it wants them to accept changes to how often they can work and is looking at downgrading layover hotels and reducing the amount that flight attendants earn on long-haul flights – especially in light of the fact that many of its long-haul flights have got even longer due to the closure of Russian airspace.
The airline said that some employee work groups have already accepted changes to terms and conditions as part of the cost-cutting initiative, but no agreement could be reached with cabin crew.
Negotiations that could determine whether agency staff are brought in to replace directly employed flight attendants will begin on November 23 and are expected to last at least six weeks.
Finnair already has agency cabin crew based in India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Stockholm and Copenhagen.
Finnair’s agency cabin crew are employed by AAP Aviation which used to be known as OSM Aviation who provided cabin crew to Norwegian Air – the arrangement, especially Norwegian’s use of an Irish-registered company, resulted in the airline being labelled as a ‘flag of convenience’ airline.
A ‘flag of convenience airline’ is one that shops around for cheap foreign labour and sets ups entities in various countries to effectively evade more stringent labour laws in their country of origin.
Norwegian came under fire from a slew of U.S. aviation unions and lawmakers over its employment practices.
In September, Finnair strenuously denied reports that it planned to make its own cabin crew redundant or sub-contract out their jobs. The airline is looking to make cost savings of around 15 per cent across the business as it seeks to shift its strategy away from Russian airspace.
“Our target continues to be to find a savings solution together with our cabin crew, commented Finnair chief executive Topi Manner on Wednesday. “We now need a genuine will from the negotiators to find solutions that would allow us to continue inflight service with our own crew, and avoid redundancies. Discussion on alternative solutions is a vitally important part of the change negotiations process.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.