‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

Pictured is an SAS aircraft.
An SAS plane approaches Arlanda airport, north of Stockholm File Photo by Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP.

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

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

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers. 

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Unemployment in Norway to rise, says new economic forecast

Unemployment in Norway is set to increase in the months ahead, according to a new economic forecast from the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO).

Unemployment in Norway to rise, says new economic forecast

The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) presented its economic forecast on Tuesday morning. Øystein Dørum, NHO’s chief economist, believes that unemployment in the country is set to increase.

Dørum’s latest forecasts are quite gloomy – he believes that unemployment will rise and describes the current situation in the Norwegian economy as characterised by a shortage of goods, raw materials, and energy. 

At the end of September, registered unemployment in Norway stood at 1.6 percent of the workforce.

After the COVID-19 pandemic in Norway effectively ended, employment growth has been at its highest since the mid-1990s. However, several indicators now point to a cooling off of the labor market in the coming years.

According to Dørum, the Labor Force Survey (LFS) unemployment rate (which accounts for unemployed people looking for work without necessarily being registered at the NAV) will amount to 3.1 percent in 2022 and increase to 3.4 and 3.7 percent in 2023 and 2024, respectively.

Decreased demand for labour

Furthermore, NHO’s chief economist warns that the proportion of NHO companies that reported a lack of access to qualified labour decreased in the third quarter of 2022, in line with their employment prospects.

More than one in three companies believe that the market outlook for the next six months has worsened or will worsen.

According to Statistic Norway (SSB) figures, the number of newly advertised job positions is also lower compared to Spring figures, and the decline in unemployment has somewhat leveled off.

The survey among businesses for the third quarter has also shown that more companies now want to reduce the number of workers than increase it.

Every tenth company says they plan to announce layoffs in the next three months. In addition, 8 percent said they plan to dismiss workers, Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reports.

“The turnaround has been particularly abrupt in tourism and business-related service provision,” the NHO’s report states.

In conclusion, the NHO assumes that growth in the workforce will level off when activity in the Norwegian economy declines.