• Sweden edition
 
SAS FINANCIAL WOES
SAS 'ultimatum' angers Swedish unions

SAS 'ultimatum' angers Swedish unions

Published: 20 Nov 2012 17:23 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Nov 2012 17:23 GMT+01:00

“As an SAS stakeholder, the Swedish state has pulled the rug from under the Swedish model despite the government saying it is in favour of it,” Unionen spokeswoman Louise Gerdemo Holmgren told The Local.

The trade union represents SAS's 600 Swedish cabin crew members and an additional 1,400 ground staff. Its members reacted angrily last week when SAS issued new working conditions without first calling its employees to the negotiating table.

“It’s the equivalent of us going on strike without talking to the employers first - it’s unfathomable,” said Gerdemo Holmgren.

"Our members are loyal and want to keep flying but there is a lot of anger."

Union representatives flew down to Copenhagen a few days later for crisis talks. The @Unionen Twitter account published a photograph of a bare office space and said some of their representatives had slept on the floor.

One online supporter said the situation resembled military tactics used to fatigue an opponent.

Other observers have reacted to the short space of time that the unions have had to respond.

“After all, they did agree, and both parties are taking responsibility, yet at the same time one can question negotiations that take place under such time pressure,” labour market historian Sofia Murhem at Uppsala University told The Local.

She said the negotiations were unusual but pointed out that the Swedish model had evolved over time.

“In the fifties and sixties, unprofitable companies were supposed to go bust. Then the workforce could relocate either to other companies or to other industries. It was also meant to regulate quality on the market,” she said.

“Union economists pioneered that model despite some Social Democrats deeming it controversial."

She said there were other "model-breaking" deals struck in the recent past.

In 2009, employers and the metal union IF Metall, then headed by current Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven, struck a bargain to reduce costs. Instead of lowering salaries, employees agreed to scale back their working hours while the financial climate recovered.

“That kind of compromise from both parties more accurately defines the Swedish model,” Murhem told The Local.

“Consensus was also meant to increase Swedish companies’ competitive edge as it provided long-term stability for investors.”

Ann Törnkvist

Follow Ann on Twitter here

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

17:45 November 20, 2012 by Beavis
so they would rather have their failed Swedish union model and everyone losing their jobs..morons..were talking about changing or going out of business. The question they should be asking instead is why are senior management not taking the hefty 70% pay cut they should be taking and when are they going to fix their 1980s pricing model
17:47 November 20, 2012 by skogsbo
listening to the unions is the last thing SAS should do to save itself. Cut wages and pensions by 10%, get rid of 10% of middle managers EVERY month until the books are balancing, award all staff a profit dividend annually, if the company survives. Some incompetent workers need the boot, business isn't charity and talking isn't going to save SAS, only severe action.
22:35 November 20, 2012 by Abe L
It must come as a shock to unions when they are hit in the face with reality and they have to realise there is no room for either negotiation or consensus. When a company is on the verge of bankruptcy the negotiations are a one-way process.

I sincerely wish unions would get prohibited by law.
21:08 November 24, 2012 by james_g
Jesus H Christ! Beavis, skogsbo & Abe have obviously been listening to the EU policy wonks who are busily insisting that the whole continent goes deeper into recession. Austerity, austerity, austerity... and presumably with the unions out of the way employers could REALLY get down to exploiting the proletariat for all they're worth - and get all that inconvenient Health & Safety legislation repealed too! Not that I have any sympathy for Union fat cat bosses sitting on enormous salaries and perks either... and obviously SAS needs serious changes if it is to have any serious chance of surviving - but they DO have to be negotiated (and it sounds like a lost cause anyway!) Finally (for the moment) no business concern would stand much chance of being successful except on the backs of its employees - so they deserve a fair share!
Today's headlines
Elections 2014
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'

With national elections around the corner, political scientist Stig-Björn Ljunggren says there's a hive of activity behind the scenes, and that the right-wing nationalist party could end up being the key player. READ  

Swedish artist jailed for 'race hate' pictures
Police arrested Dan Park (pictured) and confiscated his art works at an exhibition opening on July 5th. Photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Swedish artist jailed for 'race hate' pictures

A Malmö court has sentenced Swedish street artist Dan Park to six months in jail for incitement to racial agitation and defamation. READ  

Sweden Floods
Flooding closes roads in central Sweden
Photo: TT

Flooding closes roads in central Sweden

UPDATED: Sections of the highway in Värmland have been closed off due to flooding, and several trains are standing still. Authorities say the situation will get worse before it gets better. READ  

Elections 2014
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Casting a vote. Photo: Shutterstock

Sweden elections: How do they work?

National, regional, and local elections are taking place in Sweden on September 14th. Whether you're a first-time voter or a fresh armchair observer, The Local's beginners' guide will answer the key questions you were too afraid to ask. READ  

Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
A Romani language class in Malmö. Photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination

The Swedish government has asked a new commission to create school materials based on a white paper documenting Swedish discrimination of Roma. READ  

Day-care rapist
Day-care rape suspect 'was mentally ill'
Photo: TT

Day-care rape suspect 'was mentally ill'

Social services have ruled that a day-care intern charged with molesting 14 children in southern Sweden was "seriously mentally disturbed". READ  

What's On in Sweden

What's On in Sweden

Autumn has arrived in Sweden, which means grey skies are approaching. But summer goes out with a skip, hop, and a bang - the annual Color Run is taking place in Stockholm this weekend. READ  

Surströmmingspremiär
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season

On the third Thursday of each August, Swedes celebrate the start of the fermented herring season. The Local finds out more about the worst-smelling food on earth, and collects some of the best reaction videos. READ  

Spotify founders win 'Expats of the Year'
Crown Princess Victoria and Spotify co-founder Martin Lorentzon Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Spotify founders win 'Expats of the Year'

Spotify founders Martin Lorentzon and Daniel Ek won the International Swede of the Year award (Årets svensk i världen) on Wednesday for their work in making the world's music accessible to the world. READ  

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'
Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'

Foreign and Finance Ministers Carl Bildt and Anders Borg held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss how Sweden was being affected by a "less secure" world, and how it would foot the bill for a growing influx of refugees. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching August 20th
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Politics
"Iraq reminds me of the Yugoslav wars. It's the same story."
Society
Swedes slam Danes for 'racist' art
National
Majority of Swedes favour more or just as many refugees
Blog updates

17 August

Sea Fever (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as its not something I take any pleasure in writing. After much deliberation I have made the heartbreaking decision to abandon my trip after 1200km due to reoccurring injury. It is not a decision I have made lightly and it is one that has been truly devastating..." READ »

 

17 August

St. Louis strong (Blogweiser) »

"It’s typically a bad sign when my hometown makes news in Sweden. St. Louis was in the headlines here a few years ago when a tornado struck the airport. The city also caught attention after a politician talked about ‘legitimate rape’. Now, shooting and riots this week in Ferguson, a part of St. Louis, are..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
Lock your bathrooms: Swedish toilet invader on the the loose
Politics
'Assange will not leave until safe'
Gallery
See more images from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Society
Serial chicken smuggler caught at Norway border. Again.
Society
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
Shutterstock
Lifestyle
The Swedish mentor (and why you may need one)
National
Food agency warns girls: 'Don't eat stinky fish'
Politics
Reinfeldt calls for tolerance to refugees
Gallery
People-watching August 16-17
National
Sweden celebrates 200 years of peace
Society
Top ten literal Swedish words
Politics
'Terror training should be illegal': Liberal Party
Gallery
Swedes talk about 200 years of national peace
Politics
Islamic extremist shakes Sweden with TV threat
National
Teacher fined for 'Hitler salute' in German class
National
Swede asks for epidural and gets disinfectant
Features
Kiruna residents talk life in a town on the move
National
Swedish dad takes kids to Israel to learn about war
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

693
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se