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SAS and its Unions reject a proposal to bring back half of its laid-off pilots

SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) says it had a proposal for a solution that would have saved up to half of its laid-off (furloughed) pilots. The proposal guaranteed continuous employment for the pilots until 2025.

However, the company and the pilot associations could not reach an agreement by the September 8 deadline.

This video displays the beautiful cabin interior of an SAS A350. Hopefully, once SAS returns to normal operations again we can all enjoy this. SAS/YouTube.

SAS pilot layoffs

Earlier in the summer, 560 SAS pilots were notified of layoffs due to the coronavirus crisis. At that time negotiations for a compromise began taking place between SAS and its pilot unions. The goal was to bring back half of the 560 pilots who received the termination notices. 

The pilot layoffs affected all pilots hired after 2001, with 19 years of seniority or less.

“There is no further dialogue between the parties after the pilot associations chose not to accept SAS’s latest proposal for a solution,”

SAS Information Manager John Eckhoff writes in an email to the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv.

Eckhoff also commented in the Norwegian newspaper E24, that SAS had a proposal with the goal of retaining around 300 of the laid-off pilots. 

The idea of ​​the proposal was to contribute with flexibility in planning and long-term ensure company competitiveness and profitability into the future.

SAS pilot union response

Christian Laulund is the leader of the SAS Pilot Group (SPG), speaking collectively for the SAS pilot unions. SPG is one of four pilot unions in SAS located in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.

According to NTB, Laulund did not wish to go into much detail as to why the proposal was rejected by the pilots. But, he did express an indication as to why the negotiations failed:

Laulund explained in a message to E24 that SPG had the same goal as SAS to preserve jobs and to save the company.

However, there were several paths available to reach that goal.

Parat, SAS pilot Union in Norway

Jan Levi Skogvang is the leader of the SAS pilot union Parat in Norway. He offered a little more information as to why the talks stalled:

Skogvang spoke to E24 and said the pilots did everything they could to save jobs. He continued,

“We made it clear that we (the union) would cover the cost of the excess employees at no cost to the company (SAS). We also said we would accept pay cuts.”

Skogvang concluded that the union could not accept the demands from SAS. SAS was mainly focusing on prioritizing long-term company savings.

According to Skogvang, these long-term savings were based on hypothetical notions of an uncertain future which outcome is unknown.

What do you think about the outcome of the proposals between SAS and its pilot unions to attempt to return 300 of the laid-off pilots? Of course, not knowing all the details of what happened behind closed doors could make it difficult to form a firm opinion. You can contact us here.

Featured Image: Twitter/SAS.

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