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SAS in talks while staff prepare for bankruptcy

18 Nov 2012, 16:48

Published: 18 Nov 2012 16:48 GMT+01:00

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"Negotiations are going shit," SAS chairmain Fritz Schur told Danish radio on Sunday afternoon.

SAS has been holding talks with pilot and cabin crew unions in Copenhagen all weekend to negotiate the terms of salaries, pensions and work conditions outlined in a rescue package that was aimed at salvaging the troubled airline.

A deal must be reached before the SAS board meets on Sunday evening to determine the airline's future, but in the late afternoon the management announced that they would not accept the terms laid out by the unions.

"Unfortunately there is no deal with any of the unions yet," SAS said in a statement.

The pilots' unions had presented their bid shortly after midnight between Saturday and Sunday but it did not come close to fulfilling the SAS management's demands, despite assurances to the contrary from the union's leaders.

Jens Lippestad, chairman for the Norwegian SAS pilots association and head of negotiations for the pilots' unions, had claimed that the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian unions' bid complied with SAS "on all areas, and ensures that negotiations can be completed in a successful manner."

Some success was initially reported from negotiations between SAS and the cabin crew unions.

"We feel SAS is being attentive," one source told the Ritzau news agency.

The Swedish cabin crew union had been cooperating with its Danish and Norwegian counterparts to negotiate a new deal.

"We handed in a joint proposal on Friday...The company has said it wants the same terms in the different countries and that is why we are cooperating," said union press secretary Jennie Zetterström.

But, in the end, SAS management rejected the cabin crews' terms, too.

The company encouraged all staff members who are currently travelling to ensure they have enough cash to manage on their own in case bankruptcy is announced.

Story continues below…

The company also ordered all planes to be refuelled so that they can return home in the event of bankruptcy.

Some time after 5.30pm, Schur and two other board members reportedly left Kastrup for Stockholm, where a "crisis meeting" with bank representatives was scheduled for 8pm, daily Dagens Nyheter reported on Sunday night.

TT/The Local/nr

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Your comments about this article

18:21 November 18, 2012 by Chuck_Norris
No wonder this is happening to SAS! Last month I was buying a one way flight London - Stockholm, SAS was charging over £450.

A complete absurd out of touch, parallel universe kind of reality!
20:25 November 18, 2012 by djmarko

this sums up the SAS crisis pretty accurately!!
20:50 November 18, 2012 by Abe L
Totally absurd that unions actually play a role in this and can essentially bring the company to bankruptcy. I'm baffled the local governments aren't doing anything to prevent this. The Scandinavian market isn't big enough for the level of competition that exists today.

There is no alternative to SAS for the Scandinavian business traveler. It will definitely harm all 3 economies if SAS was to disappear. None of the alternatives have any kind of relevant longhaul destinations and Norwegian doesn't even have business class or sufficient flights to most destinations to benefit from their flexible tickets.

The cabin crew on airplane aren't much more then waitresses on a what is in essence a flying bus. It is nobodies interest to see SAS go bankrupt and have their employees end up in welfare for the taxpayer to deal with.
00:13 November 19, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
I'm suppossed to fly SAS on Thursday....and getting very nervous now! I also have 15,000 EuroBonus points with them which I'm hoping don't suddenly become worthless! Ughh! :(
07:37 November 19, 2012 by useronthenet
Governments in both Sweden, Norway and Denmark have already poured a massive amount of money into this organisation. Surely a public enquiry should now take place to give the management a valid explanation why SAS has become almost bankrupt. Many jobs are at stake here, and this issue must be addressed.
07:58 November 19, 2012 by skogsbo
sounds like the unions are going to break the company, then they'll have less members! SAS staff should put the pressure on the unions, a job that is lower paid with poorer pension is better than none. I suspect it's too late and SAS's internal costs have been too high for decades, partly because of the union.

SAS isn't cheap to fly with, it isn't especially luxurious, so the money is being spent somewhere that the passengers never see. Another airline that is more efficient and better managed will fill the gap on their routes.
08:00 November 19, 2012 by mickeyonemore
Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians ! The whole company is top heavy with office staff bleeding the company dry with their wages,expenses etc,etc.

Need to get back to basics and maintain the aircraft,trouble is they have made hundreds of decents engineers redundant over the last ten years and not had a decent apprentice scheme in place to carry on successful maintenance.

Sad day for Scandinavia as a whole but it's been on the cards.

The company has not been managed properly in every department for years.
09:22 November 19, 2012 by Beavis
@abe -nothing to do with buiness class. The obvious issue to why sas is failing is their prices!!! Their european short haul flights (the majority of their business) is way over priced. Considering that in summer fares between for example Dublin and Stockholm go up to 5000kr one way economy (and yet the plane is half full) and there is 2 other airlines flying the route offering a price of 500kr .As alreaqdy stated they have far too many senior management memebers of staff- many of which should be fired (including the ceo who earns the same as the entire board of Norwegian put together!)
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