Norwegian and pilot union avert strike

Flight schedule today can operate as scheduled

Norwegian’s management and the Norwegian Pilot Union have just announced they have reached a deal on a new collective agreement for pilots. This means the flight schedule today can operate as scheduled.

A strike would have grounded flights across Scandinavia and seriously disrupted traffic on Norwegian’s domestic and European routes. Both sides claimed they were satisfied, with the pilots retaining their pay, pensions and benefits.

“The most important thing for us today is that our passengers can feel confident that our flight schedule will run as planned,” said Norwegian’s CEO Bjørn Kjos.

Kjos told Norwegian Broadcasting that he had “stayed on the sidelines” through the long negotiations through the weekend.

As Sunday’s midnight strike deadline came and went in the conflict between Norwegian and 603 of its pilots in Scandinavia, it was still possible that a strike could be called at any time. Negotiations ran many hours into overtime this morning. A state mediator was in charge of the talks.

As previously reported, talks began on Friday between Norwegian and its pilots on changes the airline wants to introduce to its employment structure. A deadline was called for midnight on November 3. The labour group Parat and the Norwegian Pilot Union called for a strike that would hit Oslo Gardermoen, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim, Stockholm and Copenhagen.

The employees wanted the right to collective wage agreements and equal career opportunities regardless of where they are based, Parat said. They said they would accept the new structure, expansion plans and modernisation if agreement on these issues is concluded.

Swedish pilots had expressed solidarity by threatening their own sympathy strike.

“We condemn Norwegian’s plans and support the NPU and [labour group] Parat fully in this conflict,” says Martin Lindgren, vice chairman of the SPF.

“Norwegian wants to be in the affluent Scandinavian market but does not want to pay Scandinavian wages or let staff be covered by Scandinavian labour rules. […] This forces it into these imaginative arrangements with staff working in Scandinavia but who are employed in another country and fly aircraft registered in a third,” Gunnar Mandahl, chairman of the SPF, said. / TT

[photo courtesy Norwegian]

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