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Photo: SAS

SAS strike ends as agreement reached

SAS and the striking pilots from Denmark, Norway and Sweden were in negotiations from Wednesday morning, and finally reached a deal.

Negotiations between SAS and its striking pilots have reached a conclusion, with the parties agreeing on new collective bargaining agreements. SAS says that all flights in Denmark, Norway and Sweden will be resumed “as soon as possible”.

Following the pilot strike, which started on April 26, the parties reached three-year agreements and the strike has been called off. Normal service should be fully resumed within 24 hours, said Rickard Gustafson, president and CEO of SAS.

“It is with relief I now conclude that our customers soon will be flying again and that we will be able to pursue our commitment to travellers to, from and within Scandinavia,” Gustafson added.

The two sides have agreed to a 3.5% pay rise and more predictability in work schedules and job security. Pilots had been seeking a 13% pay increase to make up for pay cuts introduced when SAS was close to bankruptcy in 2012, but that was something airline executives argued would seriously damage the carrier’s competitiveness.

The agreements also ease the predictability of scheduling, job security and salaries, while previously axed agreements on collaboration and career paths have been reintroduced.

The strike is estimated to have cost the airline SEK 60-80 million (€5.6-7.4 million) a day.

Pan-Nordic deal
Present at the talks were representatives from the four Scandinavian pilots’ associations and management from SAS, plus employers’ organizations in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Efforts were made to secure a solution for the Norwegian pilots, which could subsequently be copied for the other two countries.

Marianne Hernæs, head of industrial relations at SAS, a Norwegian, conducted the negotiations on behalf of the airline, while the Dane René Arpe as chairman of the SAS Pilot Group was the top negotiator for the pilots. Between them was Norwegian mediator Mats Wilhelm Ruland.

The seven-day strike forced SAS to cancel another 709 flights during May 2, making a total of 4,015 flights cancelled in total, disrupting the travel plans of more than 390,000 passengers.

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