Lockout for aircraft technicians announced unless wage agreement can be reached 

Employer organisation NHO has announced a lockout, which could ground flights and air ambulances, will commence on Sunday if a solution to the current aircraft technician strike isn’t found. 

Pictured are SAS craft in a hanger
File Photo: SAS planes are hangared at Oslo Gardermoen airport. Photo by Erlend Aas / Scanpix Norway/ AFP.

Employer organisation the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) has announced a lockout which will start on Sunday if a solution to the current aircraft maintenance staff strike isn’t reached. 

“It is not often we choose to do it, because we know it is a serious tool. When we choose to do that, it is because we see that we are in a deadlocked situation. We are facing far higher wage demands than what other groups in society have accepted,” Ole Erik Almlid, CEO of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO), told public broadcaster NRK

A lockout will mean all air technicians, even those not on strike, will be prevented from going to work to try and force an agreement. 

Lockouts are initiated by employers, in contrast to a strike in which employees refuse to work. 

The Norwegian Air Traffic Technician Organisation (NFO) currently has 106 workers out on strike over wages. The organisation could take out 39 more staff on strike on Friday if an agreement isn’t found.

More than 50 flights have been cancelled so far due to the strike. The strike affects Norwegian Air Shuttle, Widerøe and SAS, although SAS has yet to cancel any flights due to the strike. 

Travellers are advised to contact the airline they are meant to be flying with directly if their flight is delayed or cancelled. You can check scheduled departures out of Norwegian airports here

READ ALSO: Flights in Norway cancelled due to technician strike

Widerøe has warned that a possible lockout will result in most flights being cancelled. 

“There is no doubt that if a lockout becomes a fact, it will not take long before most of our planes are on the ground,” press manager for Widerøe, Cathrinia Solli, told newswire NTB. 

SAS told newspaper VG that it was mapping out possible cancellations in case of a lockout. 

Technicians for the air ambulance services will be affected by the lockout, broadcaster TV2 reports. However, NFO is in talks to have air ambulance staff excluded from the lockout

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SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

More than 3,700 flights where cancelled and 380,000 passengers where affected by the 15-day strike which hit Scandinavia's SAS airline last month, the company has revealed.

SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

“We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected by the July strike,” Anko van der Werff, the company’s chief executive, said in a press release. “We are happy operations returned to normality again allowing us to start regaining our customers’ trust.”

According to the release, 1.3 million passengers travelled with the airline in July, which was still a 23 percent increase on the same month last year, when Covid-19 restrictions were still reducing tourism levels.

“In comparison with last month, the total number of passengers decreased with 32 percent and capacity was decreased by 23 percent, which was a result from the 15-day pilot strike,” the release read. 

Pilot unions in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, went on strike for 15 days last month over pay, conditions, and the company’s refusal to rehire pilots laid off during the Covid-19 pandemic on the same terms as before. 

The strike, which cost the airline between €9m and €12m a day, was ended on July 19th, after which it took several days to get flights back to normal

Van der Werff said company said it would now continue putting in place its restructuring plan, SAS FORWARD, and push ahead with restructuring in the US, where the company has filed for Chapter 11. 

He said these would both “accelerate the transformation process that will lead to a financially stable airline, that will be able to deliver the service our customers are expecting”.