The two Norwegian SAS pilots’ unions have notified SAS that they will take all 402 pilots on strike from day 1, Wednesday 29 June, if there is no agreement in the mediation. In total in Scandinavia, close to 900 SAS pilots will then go on strike.
There will be many SAS aircraft on the ground on Wednesday 29 June if the mediation between SAS and the pilots in the parent company does not succeed.
The two Norwegian unions of pilots employed by SAS Scandinavia have now submitted what is called a notice of resignation to SAS. They must do so no later than four days before the date of a notified strike, in this case from midnight on Wednesday 29 June.
- Norske SAS-flygeres forening (NSF) has announced that they will take all 254 pilots on strike from day 1.
- SAS Norge Flygerforening (SNF) grounds all its 148 pilots.
In total, all their 402 pilots, captains and first officers are on strike, as first reported by TV2 Nyheten.
“We have announced a resignation for all our pilots to get maximum pressure into the mediation that is currently underway in Sweden. The hope is to avoid a strike, ” said Roger Klokset, leader of NSF, to Aftenposten / E24.
In Denmark and Sweden, there is not the same system as in Norway with submission of name lists of who is on strike. But even there, all the pilots will be grounded from day one.
- In Denmark, about 250 pilots work for SAS Scandinavia.
- In Sweden, there are 240 pilots.
In total, close to 900 pilots employed by SAS Scandinavia will then be grounded from the night of 29 June.
Swedish and Danish lockout
In Denmark and Sweden, SAS has announced a lockout against all pilots employed in these countries. In Norway, SAS has issued what is called a conditional redundancy notice.
Klokset believes it is natural for SAS to send lockout notices in Denmark and Sweden.
“In those countries, you do not have the redundancy schemes that we have in Norway. Therefore, they have used the lockout weapon. We can understand that. SAS only ensures that they do not have to sit and pay for pilots they are not allowed to use. For example, if we had taken out the captains but not the first officers, the planes would still not have been able to go,” he says.
The demands from the pilots in the collective bargaining negotiations are about job security and wages. They require that SAS aircraft be manned by pilots employed by SAS. This requirement goes completely across the SAS management’s strategy.
In the last couple of years, SAS has established two completely new subsidiaries, SAS Connect and SAS Link. SAS Connect has 14 larger aircraft, while SAS Link has six smaller aircraft, of which only one is in the air so far.
Instead of first taking back some of the around 450 pilots who were laid off during the pandemic, SAS in these companies has employed pilots in other, and on average worse, conditions than what the pilots in SAS Scandinavia have. The latter have on average much longer experience and then much more seniority than the pilots in SAS Connect and SAS Link.
A total of around 85 pilots in SAS Connect and SAS Link are organised through a Danish trade union called the Aviation Industry Staff Union (Flyvebranchens Personale Union – FPU). All these pilots do not join the strike.
On the contrary, the FPU has attacked the SAS pilots who are now threatening to strike.
SAS’ Dutch CEO Anko van der Werff has said that a strike could be devastating, possibly leading to bankruptcy.
The Norwegian pilots’ Norwegian leader says they are aware of the consequences of a strike. But Klokset repeats its previous message that they no longer feel they have a choice.
“In recent years, SAS has become more of a threat than a guarantor of my members’ job security. It is not certain that we are so terribly dependent on SAS to survive any longer. This is in fact the situation that SAS has put us in, with the establishment of SAS Connect and SAS Link.”