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International pilots to boycott Norwegian

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International pilots to boycott Norwegian
Norwegian chief executive Bjørn Kjos meets the press on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix
08:42 CET+01:00
The international pilot organization Ifalpa has called on pilots around the world to refuse to fly aircraft hired by Norwegian to break the ongoing strike in Scandinavia, Norway's Aftenposten newspaper has reported.
According to the paper, Fanie Coetzee, Ifalpa’s vice president, has sent a letter out to the member organizations around the world asking pilots to refrain from helping Norwegian to secure replacement aircraft and crew. 
 
“The number of pilots without permanent employment contracts in airlines is increasing, and Norwegian is exploiting this by sending pilots on flexible contracts into the strike area of Scandinavia,” Aftenposten quoted Coetzee as saying. 
 
The move comes as the strike enters enters its sixth day, and as the company and the unions were set, at 1pm, to return to formal talks at Norway's state mediator for industrial disputes. 
 
Some 35,000 passengers have been affected by the ongoing pilot strike, which has seen the airline cancel almost all flights in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, as well as a large number of international flights. 
 
Petter Forde, leader of the Norwegian Airline Pilots Association, which asked Ifalpa for help, said the letter backed up unions’ claims that Norwegian had engaged in strikebreaking tactics by bringing in hired aircraft from elsewhere. 
 
“Norwegian can say what they like, but we believe that this is absolutely clearly strikebreaking,” he told Aftenposten. “Now not a single pilot who is connected to an Ifalpa member organization will take a job that can help the airline.” 
 
Norwegian's press officer Lasse Sandakerveien-Nielsen  said the airline was keen to end the strike. 
 
"It is obvious that we want to find a solution to the conflict, which has lasted too long and hit too many passengers," he said.
 
The main point of contention is that pilots employed by NAN want to maintain a collective agreement with the parent company in the hope of safeguarding their jobs and to standardize salary conditions for all pilots employed in the various Scandinavian subsidiaries.
 
Norwegian, which last year suffered its first loss in eight years, is looking to reduce the costs and benefits for pilots, and increase job flexibility.
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