SAS cabin personnel who are paid by the hour would see their wages slashed to 80 kronor ($11.77) per hour, among the lowest wages on the Swedish job market, according to the TT news agency.
“Salaries should be 70 percent of a full time wage when calculated at an hourly rate. That would be 80 kronor an hour compared to today’s 150 kronor per hour,” TT reports the savings plan as stating.
Working a full 40-hour week at 80 kronor per hour yields a monthly pre-tax salary of barely 13,000 kronor.
“You can’t live on 80 kronor per hour. This is just terrible,” a SAS stewardess who has worked with the company since the mid 1980s told the Aftonbladet newspaper.
A SAS spokesperson disputed the TT report, saying the 80 kronor per hour figure is inaccurate, but refrained from providing any specific details until a new agreement with unions is reached.
The revelations come amid reports in the Danish media that SAS could go bankrupt in a matter of weeks if management is unable to win approval for its saving plans.
Citing several sources within the airline, Danish newspaper Politiken wrote that SAS has already drawn up hundreds of pages of contingency plans of how to deal with bankruptcy, including procedures for handling stranded passengers and the expected lines at Scandinavian airports.
“It’s not true that we have money in the bank to survive the rest of the year,” a centrally placed source at SAS told the paper.
Meanwhile, the head of Sweden’s largest trade union federation, LO, criticized the airline for issuing a de facto ultimatum to workers to accept massive wage cuts or bankrupting the company.
“If we go along with this, where will it all end?,” Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson told the TT news agency, arguing SAS’s ultimatum puts Sweden’s entire collective wage negotiation model at risk.
“That’s why we sometimes say that it’s better to shutter operations than to worsen collective agreements.”
At 12.30pm on Friday, SAS entered into negotiations with eight union groups representing aircraft personnel.
The talks are expected to continue until Sunday afternoon.