SAS strike could ground passengers

Swedish cabin staff at Scandinavian airline SAS could go on strike on Thursday as negotiations over a new pay deal broke down.

Negotiations between the airline and unions have been stalled since last week. SAS Sweden had accepted a new proposal for a deal put forward by a mediator, but union HTF rejected the offer. The major sticking point is the working hours of cabin staff.

“We are now stopping our mediation. We are at the disposal of the parties, but the ball is now in their court,” mediator Peter Ander told news agency TT.

SAS Sweden spokesman Lars Andersen said it was “most unfortunate” that HTF had rejected the mediator’s proposal.

“We need to quickly restart dialogue with HTF, so we can unite around a new collective agreement before October 5th,” he said.

A failure to reach agreement could mean 1,000 cabin staff going on strike on Thursday. A strike would ground most of SAS Sweden’s 300 departures, and hit around 30,000 passengers.

“If this happens, we ask travellers to contact the company from which they purchased their tickets,” Andersen said.

Next week could also see SAS Denmark staff walk out, if unions and management there don’t sign a new collective agreement.