SAS and its Scandinavian pilots reach labor deal, ending costly strike
Scandinavian airline SAS has reached a deal with pilots to end 15 days of strikes that affected thousands of passengers and cost the company millions of dollars in lost revenue and costs.
The two sides were locked in dispute over plans by SAS to cut costs under its SAS Forward restructuring program, which it says is necessary for its survival.
The parties have now agreed on 5.5-year collective bargaining agreements, which will see pilots working more and result in a lowered unit cost for the SAS Scandinavia pilots. SAS has also committed to re-hire 450 pilots in full-time employment. The two sides have also reached agreement on withdrawing pending legal action against the company by some of its pilots.
Unions said pilots let go during the pandemic were being forced to reapply for their old jobs, but at new, lower cost units set up by SAS.
SAS said the deal with its pilots represented a key element of its restructuring plan and would help attract the investment the airline requires. The airline is currently in a chapter 11 restructuring process in the United States and the labor agreement require approval by union members and the US court.
“With these agreements in place, the pilots are doing their part in this difficult situation,” commented SAS Chief Executive Anko van der Werff. “The strike has been a tough situation for our customers, for our employees, and for our company as a whole. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all of my SAS colleagues who have worked tirelessly these past weeks to help our customers.”
Overall, the strike resulted in around 3,700 canceled flights affecting 380,000 passengers, costing SAS approximately SEK 100-130 million per day (US$9.5-$12.5 million) in lost revenue and costs. SAS said the financial impact of the strike is expected to exceed SEK 1.5 billion (US$145 million) in total.
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