Finnish flag carrier Finnair has lifted a threat to subcontract hundreds of flight attendant jobs to cheaper agency staff after crew leaders agreed to a raft of changes to pay, benefits and working conditions as part of the Helsinki-based carrier’s cost-saving programme.
In November 2022, Finnair threatened to subcontract out around 450 jobs from a workforce of approximately 1,750 directly employed flight attendants after the cabin crew union initially rejected the airline’s cost-cutting proposals.
The union staged a one-day walkout in late November at what it described as “blackmail” measures from the airline, resulting in at least 100 flights being cancelled. Since then, the two sides have been locked in intensive talks attempting to hammer out a deal.
On Wednesday, the airline announced that an agreement had finally been reached and that as a result of the deal, no directly employed flight attendant jobs would be lost.
”We are pleased that we have been able to find solutions together with our employees”, commented Johanna Karppi, Senior Vice President, People and Culture at Finnair.
Finnair was hit particularly hard by pandemic border closures in Asia and Russian airspace restrictions have further hammered the airline’s long-haul strategy.
“The double crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic and the closure of Russian airspace has had a major impact on Finnair’s finances,” Karppi continued.
“The agreements with our employees support our important goal of restoring profitability. We are grateful that our employees have been willing to contribute to solving our profitability challenge to safeguard the future of Finnair and jobs at Finnair.”
Cabin crew have agreed to more ‘efficient’ rostering, as well as downgraded layover hotels and pay cuts for long-haul flights. The agreement will remain in force until 2025.
Finnair already used hundreds of cheaper subcontracted agency flight attendants – the majority of whom are employed overseas. The airline has agency cabin crew in India, Singapore, Copenhagen and Stockholm.
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.