“It has not been discussed,” Bjørn Halvor Kise told journalists several times when asked repeatedly about a rumoured plan to bankrupt Norwegian Air Norway, forcing the company’s Norwegian pilots to reapply for their jobs on new terms.
He said that the company’s management had attempted to resume talks with the Norwegian Pilot Union on both Sunday and Monday without success.
“This is a very serious situation for us, for the whole company,” he said. “It now looks like it might escalate.”
On Monday the pilots cancelled a scheduled discussion complaining that Norwegian’s management had refused to provide them with an agenda for the meeting in advance.
“The company has not invited us to new negotiations,” said Halvor Vatnar, the NPU’s head. “When we get such an invitation, we are willing to meet anytime and anywhere.”
So far only 70 of the company’s pilots are taking part in the strike, which began at midnight on Friday after the company continued to refuse union demand for a collective wage agreement.
Unions are scheduled to increase the strike to a much more damaging 650 pilots if no agreement is reached by Wednesday.
Roughly 20 flights were cancelled on Sunday, all but one of them domestic flights. Twelve were cancelled on Monday, and nine are set to be cancelled on Tuesday.
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Kise told journalists that Norwegian would never be able to compete internationally if it yielded to the unions’ demands.
“We could probably not survive at the current size,” he said, underlining the need for the company to build scale.