Photo: Rune Feldt Rasmussen/Scanpix
The two sides were keeping commentary in the media to a minimum to avoid disrupting negotiations but Anne-Sissel Skånvik, Norwegian Air’s spokeswoman revealed on Monday night that the company had made a new proposal to the pilots' unions.
Early on Tuesday morning, Arve Sigmundstad, press officer for the Parat Union stressed that there was "nothing new" in the proposal which would end the deadlock.
On Monday, Norwegian media were reporting that the two sides were close to a solution, but those hopes were dashed by the late afternoon as the two sides hit deadlock on the remaining issues after which the company angered unions by attempting to switch from two-way talks to a formal arbitration process.
“We are still sitting in talks with the company, and this initiative could harm the negotiation progress,” Hans-Erik Skjæggerud, leader of the Parat Union complained after the move, arguing that by talking of arbitration Norwegian was implying that it wrongly viewed the talks as primarily about wages.
“The conflict cannot be solved through arbitration,” he said.
The strike has affected at least 150,000 passengers since it began on Saturday February 28th, after three months of futile talks broke down.
More than 700 pilots working for the company’s Norwegian Air Norway subsidiary have joined the strike, and the company has temporarily laid off some 800 cabin crew without pay.
Skånvik described Parat’s rejection of the request for arbitration as “regrettable”.
The pilots want better job security and standardized salary terms for all pilots employed by the various Scandinavian subsidiaries of Norwegian.
The company, which in 2014 suffered its first loss in eight years, is looking to reduce operating costs as well as pilots' benefits.
All flights within Norway and Sweden will be cancelled on Tuesday, although flights between Scandinavian capitals, which have barely been operating since the strike began, appear to be running as usual.