Seven of eight unions sign new deals with SAS

Seven of eight unions sign new deals with SAS
Scandinavian Airlines representatives met with union officials throughout Sunday night, with all but one of the trade unions signing new collective agreements in an effort to stave off the company's bankruptcy.

The union has made agreements with the Swedish and Norwegian cabin crews, as well as the pilot unions in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, according to SAS spokeswoman Elisabeth Manzi.

Robert Gustafsson, president of the Swedish pilots association, conceded that the agreement was tough on the pilots.

“We’ve made a big sacrifice. In principle, we’ve met with SAS in all areas – salary, pension and employment,” he told the TT news agency.

Part of the agreements means the Swedish pilots will lose a month’s salary per year, will see further pay cuts, and will have increased work hours.

Gustafsson pointed to the other employees to make similar sacrifices, stating the Swedish pilots had stretched as far as they could.

Norwegian pilots agreed to work more, and effectively took a 30 percent pay cut.

Meanwhile, the Swedish cabin crew will not suffer any pay cuts, but salary negotiations have been scrapped for the next two years. Staff members are also expected to work more hours.

The union yet to sign negotiations is the Danish cabin crew, which is currently in discussions.

In order to stay afloat, SAS has reached an agreement to increase its existing 3.1 billion kronor ($457 million) revolving credit facility to 3.5 billion, provided by seven banks and the three Scandinavian governments – Sweden, Denmark and Norway – that together own 50 percent of the company.

The negotiations are part of a crisis meeting which started on Friday afternoon and had a midnight deadline on Sunday, however talks have progressed into Monday morning and are ongoing.

The carrier is thought possibly to be heading for its fifth annual loss in a row after a restructuring programme last year failed to turn the company around.

SAS has in recent years come under increasing pressure from low-cost rivals such as Oslo-based Norwegian, Europe’s third largest budget airline.

Asset disposals and further outsourcing means the group’s total number of employees would fall to 9,000 from 15,000 following under the new plan.

Shares in SAS soared 24.11 percent at around 0900 GMT on the Stockholm stock exchange. The main OMX Stockholm 30 index, in which the stock is not included,

was 1.28 percent higher.

TT/The Local/AFP/og

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