SAS shares soar on union deal rumours

SAS shares soar on union deal rumours
The price of stock in Scandinavian airline SAS rose by 9 percent on Wednesday morning following news that the company was close to securing a deal with unions over lower wages and unsatisfactory employment conditions.

“We’re negotiating and it’s moving in the right direction,” Nicholas Fischer, union chairman for the HK Luftfart labour group, told the Jyllands-posten newspaper.

The newspaper also reported that the agreement may help SAS compete on equal terms with budget airlines.

However, even if SAS leadership reaches an agreement with the union, several details still need to be worked out.

As usual, the battle-hardened Danish unions are the most difficult to reach a consensus with, according to TT.

“Nothing is final. So many parties are involved in this complicated negotiations process,” said SAS’s Chief Information Officer, Bertil Ternert, to the TT news agency.

“But negotiations are proceeding in a positive spirit.”

SAS’s latest budget cutbacks totaled around two billion kronor ($285 million), and the company hopes to cut costs by 6.5 billion kronor by the year 2011.

The end result would mean around 4,500 fewer jobs and salary cuts of between 10 to 20 percent.

The largest hit is expected to be taken by SAS’s Danish and Norwegian staff who have higher salaries and better employment conditions than their Swedish counterparts.

“There is nothing concrete to report about out negotiations with company leadership which continue to progress. Our next date with SAS management is planned for next week and it can’t really be said that the state of things has changed since we began negotiations,” said Pelle Gustafsson, chairman of the cabin crew union for SAS in Sweden.

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