HELSINKI (AP) -- Hundreds of ship builders dropped their tools Thursday to protest layoffs and outsourcing at STX Finland's shipyard in southwestern Finland, union officials said.
The strike, planned to last until Monday morning, came after the company last week confirmed it will eliminate 370 jobs at the Turku yard and outsource some operations.
"The workers cannot understand the layoffs and company outsourcing policy," union spokesman Ari Rajamaki said. "Some operations have been given to an outside company at the same time as they (STX Finland) are reducing their own staff."
In November, the shipyard announced plans to shed some 400 jobs and temporarily lay off many of the yard's 2,300 workers.
That announcement came only weeks after the yard completed the construction of the world's biggest cruise liner -- the Oasis of the Seas. The euro1 billion ($1.5 billion) ship, commissioned by Royal Caribbean, had provided jobs at the yard for more than two and a half years.
Currently the Turku yard is building a sister ship for Royal Caribbean -- the Allure of the Seas -- due to be launched in 2011. Spanning 1,200 feet (360 meters) from bow to stern, it will be the same size as the Oasis of the Seas, with 16 decks, several swimming pools and 2,700 cabins able to accommodate up to 8,500 people.
About 2,000 workers are working on the new ship -- about half of them STX Finland employees.
Some 320 employees at the Turku yard have been temporarily laid off.
STX Finland OY is part of the international STX Europe Group, which has 15 shipyards in Brazil, Norway, France, Romania, Finland and Vietnam. The Group has 16,000 employees.