STOCKHOLM, July 2 ― The threat of an indefinite strike by pilots at troubled Scandinavian airline SAS was again pushed back Saturday, with negotiations between management and unions extended for a second time.
“The mediators have, together with SAS and the SAS Scandinavia pilots’ unions, decided to further postpone the strike,” the airline said in a statement.
The strike deadline, initially set by the unions for Wednesday, was pushed back to Saturday.
It has now been extended to midday on Monday, although further postponements are possible.
The pilots are protesting against salary cuts demanded by management as part of a restructuring plan aimed at ensuring the survival of the company, which has suffered a string of losses since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020.
SAS management announced in February the savings plan, dubbed “SAS Forward”, which was supplemented in June by a plan to increase capital by nearly one billion euros.
Denmark, the biggest shareholder with Sweden, with 21.8 percent each, said in June it was ready to increase its stake to 30 percent.
Sweden has refused to provide fresh funds, but is willing to turn debt into capital.
Norway, which left SAS in 2018, has said it is ready to return to the airline, but only by converting debt into equity.
The prospect of a massive strike at SAS comes as the summer is shaping up to be difficult for European airlines and airports, faced with staff shortages affecting traffic.
After widespread job losses linked to Covid-19, airlines and airports are struggling to recruit new staff in many countries. ― AFP