Swedes’ Germany trips cancelled due to strike

Scandinavian Airlines SAS has had to pull 29 flights as German airline and airport personnel launch a 24-hour strike that has also led to 1,700 Lufthansa flights being cancelled on Monday.

Swedes' Germany trips cancelled due to strike

Flights between Sweden and Germany will grind to a halt because of the strike called by the Verdi union, which represents 33,000 Lufthansa employees. The union and airline management are far from reaching a deal in the current negotiations, with Verdi describing the airline’s latest bid as “scandalous”.

Since Verdi handles ground services at almost all the large German airports, with the exception of Berlin Tegel, the strike will also affect other airlines, including Scandinavian Airlines SAS, which is Lufthansa’s Star Alliance partner.

SAS was notified about the strike on Friday and was forced to cancel 29 return trips between Scandinavia and Germany, six of which would have departed from Sweden.

“All affected SAS passengers have received compensation or the opportunity to rebook their trips,” SAS spokeswoman Rebecka Södergren told news agency TT.

Altogether, 164 Lufthansa and SAS flights to and from Scandinavian locations were cancelled. In Sweden, a total of 18 flights to and from Stockholm and 22 flights to and from Gothenburg were cancelled.

Most of Lufthansa’s 1,700 cancelled flights are short-haul flights. Monday’s walk-out will be the second 24-hour strike to hit Lufthansa in just a month.

TT/The Local/nr Follow The Local on Twitter

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‘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.