Scandinavian Pilots’ Unions Settle Dispute After Two-Week Strike

July 19, 2022

Copenhagen — Airline SAS and the Scandinavian pilots' union have settled a wage dispute, ending a two-week strike, the airline announced early Tuesday.

"I am pleased to report that we now have come to an agreement with all four pilot unions for SAS Scandinavia and the strike has ended," Anko van der Werff, the airline's president and chief executive said.

"Finally, we can resume normal operations and fly our customers on their much longed-for summer holidays. I deeply regret that so many of our passengers have been impacted by this strike."

The parties have agreed on new collective bargaining agreements for five and a half years, according to the statement.

SAS - the flag carrier of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden - also plans to rehire 450 pilots who had been laid off on a full-time basis.

The unions accused SAS of using the coronavirus pandemic to fire hundreds of pilots - they say the airline laid them off with an agreement to rehire them and then failed to do so.

Instead, the airline is accused of relying on cheaper pilots from its SAS Link and SAS Connect subsidiaries, which the unions said act as the airline's staffing agency.

Around 900 SAS pilots from Denmark, Sweden and Norway went on strike after collective agreement negotiations broke down in early July. The move has had a severe impact on financially strapped SAS, the airline said last week.

It caused thousands of flight cancellations and cost the airline around 100-130 million Swedish kronas per day ($9.6 million-$12.5 million), the airline said.

A new round of talks began on Wednesday with tough negotiations over the weekend. Such long strikes are unusual in Scandinavia.

SAS had said late Monday no agreement had been signed, countering local media reports.

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