Finland’s Traficom could make up to 13% of staff redundant

THE FINNISH TRANSPORT and Communications Agency (Traficom) has announced it will initiate consultative negotiations with almost its entire staff over the redundancies of up to 120 employees on 2 December.

The topics of discussion will also include other cost-cutting measures, such as rationalising the operations of the agency that employs roughly 900 people in 15 localities across Finland.

The objective of the statutory process is to consolidate the financial position of the agency and secure the future of its core functions and services to citizens and organisations, according to a press release from Traficom. The negotiations will not, however, have an impact on the number of its regional offices.

Traficom underlined that all employees losing their jobs will be offered support in their re-employment effort. “The planning of the measures has begun in anticipation of the possible lay-offs, and the support services are an important topic addressed in the negotiations,” the press release reads.

The negotiations could continue until 20 January.

Traficom also highlighted that it expects to exceed its budget significantly not only this year, but also in the coming years. The economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic also makes it unlikely that its budget is expanded in the near future.

“The income accrued by the agency is expected to decrease as a consequence of the coronavirus in 2020–2021, and the pandemic is expected to affect the transport industry considerably at least for the next three years,” it said.

Trade Union Pro and the Negotiating Organisation for Public Sector Professionals (Juko) have branded the consultative negotiations as an over-reaction, arguing that the agency has enough transfer appropriations to at least cover its needs in 2021. The belt-tightening measures, they added, can undermine the agency’s ability to do its part for the health security of citizens on public transport and in transport terminals.

The trade unions also called for a response from the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications on Wednesday issued a press release stating that although it is not a party to the statutory negotiations, it expects that the issues are dealt with and the solutions sought in open collaboration between the parties.

“The ministry stipulates that the decisions made based on the consultative negotiations are evaluated and justified carefully and that also the ministry is notified of the justifications,” it said.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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Traficom announces two-week suspension of flights between Turku and Skopje

FLIGHTS BETWEEN Turku and Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, will be suspended for two weeks as of Friday, 28 August, per a decision by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom).

The once-weekly flights will not be operated between today and 10 September.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) estimated in a statement requested by the agency that suspending the flights temporarily would be a proportionate measure to limit the spread of the new coronavirus in Finland.

THL stated that tests and other measures suggest an unusually high number of people who could spread the virus have been on the flights and that the decision to order all passengers into quarantine was justified.

“The requirement that passengers must get tested in advance has reduced the infection risk posed to other passengers, but there is not yet enough evidence of the implementation and effectiveness of advance testing,” stated Traficom.

Due to the incomplete coverage of tests conducted on passengers upon their arrival and the difficulty of making sure passengers observe the two-week quarantine in Finland, THL reminded that the possibility remains that the continuing the flights poses a risk of the virus spreading in the population in spite of the current measures.

The decision was made on grounds of sections in the aviation act enabling authorities to prohibit or limit air traffic in order to solve sudden and short-term problems caused by unpredictable and unavoidable circumstances.

Entry restrictions amended, rules for restaurants extended

The Finnish government yesterday amended the restrictions on entries across the external border by prohibiting entry for wild-berry pickers from third countries that are subject to entry restrictions adopted due to the coronavirus epidemic. The entry prohibition will enter into force on Friday, 28 August.

The decision has no impact on the possibility of berry pickers from Thailand to travel to Finland, as no entry restrictions are currently imposed on residents of Thailand.

The government also announced the extension of its restrictions on bars, cafés and restaurants until the end of September. Such establishments will thus remain obliged to make sure patrons have their own seat, the possibility to wash their hands, do not come into unnecessary close contact with others, and keep their facilities and surfaces clean.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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