SAS cancels more flights after labour talks with Swedish pilots fail

Scandinavian airline SAS said it plans to cancel 240 flights on Tuesday after overnight talks failed to end a strike by Sweden-based pilots over wages.

Tuesday's cancellations affect about 25,500 passengers, the airline said. The disruptions began Friday when the Swedish pilot's union called on 400 pilots to walk off work.

The carrier had already cancelled 230 flights on Monday, affecting 27,000 passengers.

The labour action has disrupted domestic Swedish and European flights including to other Nordic capitals as well as Frankfurt, Paris and London.

Overnight talks broke down early Monday. SAS expressed regret that the Swedish Pilots Union had rejected a bid presented by mediators.

"Our differences on some key issues are simply too great," union head Wilhelm Tersmeden told Swedish Radio.

Over the weekend an estimated 50,000 passengers, including several thousand charter tourists, were affected when 380 flights were cancelled due to the labour action.

Long-haul flights were not affected, the airline said.

It was not immediately clear when mediators would resume efforts.

"We have done all that's in our power to avoid a continued strike, but we have unfortunately still been unable to come to an agreement," SAS spokeswoman Karin Nyman said in a statement.

The union said they wanted wage increases of 3.5 per cent and revisions in the collective bargaining agreement. SAS pilots said they want compensation for wage cuts and other concessions they made in 2012 when the company was in dire straits.

The Swedish Aviation Industry Group, which organizes employers, offered 2.2 per cent, saying that was in line with other groups.

Danish and Norwegian pilots were flying as normal, the company said.

Passengers were advised to consult the carrier's website or the company with which they booked tickets.

The airline's share price traded down 7.5 per cent, shortly before the Stockholm bourse closed Monday.

The airline - whose main owners are the governments of Denmark, Norway and Sweden - is facing stiff competition from low-cost carriers such as Norwegian Air Shuttle.

Last update: Mon, 13/06/2016 - 16:45
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