Friday, 26 April 2019

Scandinavian Airlines strike affects 72,000 travelers

Photo SAS
It has been a devastating start to strike action by pilots for Scandinavian Airlines System on Friday. The airline has been forced to cancel 673 flights, far more than management had been planning for.

The airline had been in protected negotiations with the SAS Pilot Group, over collective bargaining agreements, pay, working hours and recognition.  However, last-minute talks ended without agreement early on Friday, leave no option other than for the pilots to commence strike action.

The SAS Pilot Group represents nearly 95% of the airline's flight deck crew in Sweden, Norway and Denmark and whilst full details of the dispute have not been released, however, it centres on pay, the union wants salaries to be in line with the market rates. They also want better working hours, Wilhelm Tersmeden, chairman of the Swedish pilots association, said SAS employees are facing "deteriorated working conditions, unpredictability in planning work hours and insecurity for their own job."

The airline's negotiators in returned have labelled the requests "unreasonable and extreme." with a spokesperson saying the pilots’ requests "would have very negative consequences for the company."

The airline had made some precautionary cancellations late on Thursday night, however, the management were not expecting quite so much disruption from the flight deck crews, leading to 673 flights cancelled, 72,000 passengers.  The unions say they are ready for a long extended period of strike action, how long the airline can cope with estimated loses of £7.8million each day is unknown. 

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