ANALYSIS: Why are SAS pilots on strike?

SAS pilots are causing travel misery for thousands but how do they justify their strike action?

Pictured is an SAS aircraft.
This is why SAS pilots have gone on strike. File photo: A SAS plane approaches Arlanda airport, north of Stockholm. Photo by Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP.

As many as 900 pilots in Denmark, Norway and Sweden are participating in a strike which SAS has warned will affect 30,000 passengers each day the strike continues

Unions announced that strikes would go ahead after the deadline for the two parties to find an agreement was pushed back several times

When strike action was confirmed, union reps said that the gap between what pilots wanted and what was offered was too far to be bridged with negotiations. 

“We have not succeeded in agreeing with SAS. We have been in long, long negotiations. We have come a long way. We have tried to reach an agreement but experienced that no matter how far we go, it will never be enough,” Martin Lindgren from the Swedish Pilot Association and leader of the SAS Pilot Group told business and financial site E24

The gap between the parties stems from two issues. Firstly, pilots are unhappy with the wages and working conditions offered by SAS. Unions have said that pilots were willing to take a five percent pay cut and work longer hours to strike a deal. 

READ ALSO: How long could the SAS pilot strike last?

However, the bigger issue for SAS pilots is that instead of re-employing those SAS pilots who were laid off during cutbacks caused by the pandemic, priority is instead being given to hiring new pilots on cheaper deals in two subsidiaries, SAS Link and SAS Connect.

The creation of the two subsidiaries came at a similar time as when 560 pilots lost their jobs due to the airline slashing costs across the board. 

Meanwhile, the airline has argued that hiring new pilots to the subsidiaries is an essential part of cost-cutting practices to ensure the airline’s survival. The airline has said that the subsidiaries are a vital step in attempting to cut costs by 7.5 billion kroner annually as part of the firm’s SAS Forward plan. 

In contrast, pilots’ representatives argue that using subsidiaries was a form of union-busting and goes against the Scandinavian working model. 

Last week, Roger Klokset, head of the Norwegian SAS pilots’ association, told newspaper VG said they were willing to see the company go under if needs be. 

“Yes. Undoubtedly if the company fails to relate to the Scandinavian model, we believe that is an actor that doesn’t have the right to life,” Klokset told VG. 

Member comments

  1. Why on earth did you deleted my previous post.
    This strike is totally legit and as an Air France pilot having had the luck to be in a country where a national airline is deemed essential, we we given gazillions of Euro, just like Lufthansa, to hold our head aboute the water. Why haven’t Scandinavian country don’t the same.
    But, the core of the problem is that SAS pilot had a promise ( years ) to be rehired once the pandemic would be over.
    I choke when I read pilots have a strike culture !!
    A contract is a contract. How do you expect to speak of loyalty when such practices are in place ?

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OVERVIEW: Which schools in Norway will be affected by the teachers’ strike?

More than 1,300 teachers in Norway will strike from next week. Here are the schools facing disruption. 

OVERVIEW: Which schools in Norway will be affected by the teachers' strike?

Some 1,300 teachers will join a teachers’ strike in Norway from Monday. The influx of striking teachers joins 45 education professionals who have been on strike in Bergen since before the summer holidays. 

“Ideally, our members would like to be in the classrooms and receive their students after the school holidays. But when KS chooses to make the teachers in the school pay losers for the sixth year in a row, we unfortunately have no other choice,” Steffen Handal, head of the Education Association, said in a press release. 

Education unions are unhappy with the package offered to teachers by KS, which negotiates with the public sector on behalf of the government. The deal offered by KS was accepted by the public sector as a whole, however. 

READ MORE: More than 1,300 teachers in Norway to join strike

The strike will affect all of the country’s counties, apart from Oslo. In addition, 14 municipalities will be affected by the strike initially. The municipalities that will be affected are Arendal, Bergen, Bodø, Gjøvik, Harstad, Haugesund, Indre Østfold, Lillestrøm, Modum, Molde, Porsgrunn, Steinkjer, Stjørdal and Tromsø.

In Norway, counties are responsible for funding high schools, while the local municipality funds other schools. This is why the strikes are spread across the county and municipal levels.

Below is the list of schools that will be affected by the strikes and the number of staff on strike: 

Adger County
Arendal videregående skole (42)

Hisøy skole (15)


Gimle oppveksttun skole (3)

Slåtthaug skole (34)


Alstad ungdomsskole (3)

Bankgata ungdomsskole (27)

Mørkvedmarka skole (2)

Rønvik skole (1)

Saltvern skole (1)

Østbyen skole (1)


Gjøvik skole (1)

Vardal ungdomsskole (34)


Hagebyen skole (22)

Heggen barnehager avd blåbærdalen (1)

Stangnes skole (1)


Hauge skole (1)

Håvåsen skole (38)

Indre Østfold

Blomsterenga barnehage (1)

Susebakke barnehage (1)

Indre østfold kommune innovasjon og kommunikasjon (1)

Indre østfold kommune tilsyn og forvaltning (1)

Askim ungdomsskole (42)

Havnås oppvekstsenter avd skole (1)

Knapstad barne- og ungdomsskole (1)

Spydeberg ungdomsskole (1)

Trømborg skole (1)

Innlandet County

Gjøvik videregående skole (72)

Lena-valle videregående skole avd lena (2)


Kjeller skole (1)

Riddersand skole (1)

Sten-Tærud skole (1)

Tienbråten ressursbarnehage (1)

Vardeåsen skole (1)

Østersund ungdomsskole (32)


Brunes naturbarnehage (1)

Søndre modum ungdomsskole (24)

Vikersund skole (1)


Bekkevoll ungdomsskole (33)

St sunniva barnehage (1)

Vågsetra barne- og ungdomsskole (1)

Møre og Romsdal

Molde videregående skole (35)

Romsdal videregående skole (2)

Nordland County

Bodin videregående skole (6)

Bodø videregående skole (60)


Borge skole (1)

Grønli skole (1)

Heistadskolene avd barn (1)

Kjølnes ungdomsskole (25)

Lyngvegen barnehage (1)

Tveten skole (1)

Vestsiden skole (2)

Rogaland County

Bryne vidaregåande skule (1)

Haugaland videregående skole (72)


Beitstad skole (1)

Egge ungdomsskole (30)


Halsen ungdomsskole (2)

Hegra ungdomsskole (1)

Lånke skole (1)

Stokkan ungdomsskole (37)

Troms og Finnmark County

Ishavsbyen videregående skole (1)

Stangnes Rå videregående skole avd Stangnes (44)

Heggen videregående skole (27)

Kongsbakken videregående skole (33)


Kvaløysletta skole (41)

Templarheimen barnehage (1)

Tromstun skole (1)

Trudvang barnehage (1)

Trøndelag county

Ole Vig videregående skole (59)

Trøndelag fylkeskommune (1)

Steinkjer videregående skole (59)

Vestfold og Telemark County

Porsgrunn videregående skole (50)

Vestland County

Amalie skram videregående skole (1)

Bergen katedralskole (54)

Slåtthaug videregående skole (28)

Årstad videregående skole (1)

Viken County

Buskerud videregående skole (46)

Mysen videregående skole (65)

Skedsmo videregående skole (80)

Viken fylkeskommune (2)