SAS to meet pilot unions for talks in Stockholm

Negotiators for the Scandinavian union SAS resumed talks with pilot unions at 10am on Wednesday, with unions saying success or failure of the discussions is down to the airline.

SAS to meet pilot unions for talks in Stockholm
Reporters gathered outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise before the strike was announced ten days ago. Photo: Chris Anderson/TT

“It might take time and it might go fast. Now it’s all up to SAS,” Roger Klokset, vice-chair of the Norwegian pilots’ union said as he arrived at the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where the talks are taking place. 

He hit back at last week’s story that his union was prepared to force SAS into bankruptcy rather than undermine Scandinavian-style labour rights

“We have never said we want SAS to go bankrupt,” he said. “But we are standing up for principles within working life, and then it’s up to the board of SAS to decide who they want it to go for SAS.”  

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS strike?

About 900 SAS pilots have now been on strike for ten days, forcing the airline to cancel between 200 and 250 flights every day, each time affecting 30,000 passengers.

On Monday, both parties announced that they were willing to start negotiations again.

According to aviation analyst Hans Jørgen Elnæs, a solution might soon be in sight. “I think we can talk about [a resolution] within days”, he told TT on Tuesday.

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UPDATE: SAS and pilots resume negotiations on new agreement

On Sunday morning, SAS resumed negotiations on a new agreement with several of the airline's pilots.

UPDATE: SAS and pilots resume negotiations on new agreement

On Sunday morning SAS resumed negotiations with pilots in the hope of finding a solution before the extended deadline of midday on Monday. If not, it could mean that as many as a thousand pilots will go on strike.

The pilots are employed by SAS’s parent company, SAS Scandinavia, and have announced strike action because they are not satisfied with their salary and working conditions at SAS.

In addition, the pilots are dissatisfied with the fact that instead of re-employing old SAS pilots, priority is given to hiring new pilots on cheaper agreements in the two subsidiaries SAS Link and SAS Connect.

On Saturday morning, when the parties stated that they would continue the negotiations up until and including Monday at 12 noon, there was hope of being able to land an agreement.

This is according to Keld Bækkelund Hansen, head of negotiations at Dansk Metal, who is involved in the negotiations on behalf of the pilots. “The aviation industry is complicated, and therefore we need extra time to get it to the finish line,” he told TV 2. “We will do everything to ensure that we get a breakthrough.”

If the parties do not succeed in landing an agreement before the midday deadline on Monday, then there is an opportunity to choose to postpone the deadline again and continue the negotiations, something that has already happened three times in the last week.

READ ALSO: Direct talks raise hopes SAS strike can be avoided

Another possibility is that the pilots choose to strike. This will mean that a significant part of SAS’s flights will be affected by delays or cancellations.

However, pilots in SAS Link and SAS Connect are not part of the strike notice and will continue their work. SAS will, therefore, be able to continue flights.