SAS staff face redundancy

Some 230 staff at the Swedish subsidiary of Scandinavian airline SAS will be given redundancy notices on Friday, mainly as a result the company's decision to stop flying its accident-hit Dash Q-400 plane fleet.

Of those facing redundancy, “the number of cabin crew will be double the number of pilots,” said SAS Sverige spokesman Mikael Lindberg.

“The main reason is that we are no longer flying the Dash Q400 plane model, but we have also had excess numbers for a long period,” he said.

The airline’s decision to axe its Dash Q-400 fleet has led to 27 planes being grounded. The airline said it was not certain that all those issued with notices would lose their jobs.

“We will now try to find all possible solutions to avoid redundancies,” Lindberg said.

The redundancies are not linked to SAS’s recent cost-cutting plan, said Lindberg.

Representatives of the Cabin Crew Union at SAS say 150 members have been issued with redundancy notices.

“The redundancy notices are hitting hard and many people are now worried,” said Pelle Gustafsson Cabin Crew Union.

SAS has been dredging the market over the past month to find replacements for the grounded Dash fleet. In many cases the company has been forced to charter planes and crew from other airlines.


‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.