SAS pilots support wage deal, won't resume strike

SAS pilots support wage deal, won't resume strike

SAS pilots support wage deal, won't resume strike if a SAS aircraft is parked on the ground during a pilot strike at Copenhagen Airport.

STOCKHOLM Reuters - Swedish, Danish and Norwegian pilot union members voted to adopt a collective bargaining agreement with airline SAS last month and will not resume their strike, the labour unions said on Saturday.

Some 3,700 flights were shut down by SAS during a 15 day strike in July.

In Denmark, 93% of pilot union members voted in favor of the deal.

Henrik Thyregod, chairman of the Danish pilots union, said he is very happy about the great support for the agreement, not least when we have been through a long and tough conflict.

He said that the members have understood the gravity of the situation and that this shows how strong the unity is among the pilots.

The unions in Norway and Sweden said a majority of their members supported the deal, but did not reveal how many had voted in favor.

Long struggling SAS, which filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection on the second day of the strike, has estimated that the industrial action cost it more than $145 million during what is normally the profitable peak summer travel season.

The deal entails lower wages and longer hours for the pilots but also a commitment from SAS, whose biggest owners are the governments of Sweden and Denmark, to hire pilots laid off during the epidemic.

The new collective bargaining deal between SAS and unions needs to be approved by a U.S. court handling creditors' interests in the Chapter 11 process.

In a statement, Dansk Metal, the union representing Danish pilots, said that SAS will not set up new subsidiaries on different terms as per the agreement.

SAS needs to slash costs and raise more capital in order to survive, as it was already losing-making before the epidemic due to rising competition from low-cost carriers.

Denmark says it might inject fresh funds if SAS gets support from private sector investors, despite the Swedish government rejecting the company's plea for more cash.