SAS and pilots to continue discussions on Monday as strike enters 3rd week

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – SAS and the pilots’ unions were due to resume negotiations on new collective agreements on Monday as a crippling strike, which the Scandinavian airline says threatens its existence, entered its third week.

Most of the SAS pilots in Sweden, Denmark and Norway walked out on July 4 after talks over terms on the carrier’s bailout failed. The parties returned to the negotiating table in the Swedish capital on July 13.

Discussions continued throughout the weekend. On Saturday, a mediator said the parties had made progress, but important issues still needed to be resolved.

SAS, which has been struggling for a long time, needs to attract new investors and secure bridge financing, saying it must first cut costs to achieve those goals.

Pilots employed at the carrier’s 75-year-old subsidiary SAS Scandinavia said after talks broke down they would accept limited pay cuts and less favorable terms, while SAS said the concessions offered would not were not sufficient to carry out a rescue plan announced in February.

Unions are also demanding that pilots made redundant during the pandemic be rehired at SAS Scandinavia rather than having to compete with external candidates for jobs on less attractive terms at the recently established SAS Link and Ireland-based SAS Connect.

For Monday, 183 SAS flights, or 57% of those scheduled, have been canceled, according to flight tracking platform FlightAware. SAS Link and SAS Connect pilots are not on strike.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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