SAS pilot strike strands 72,000 passengers

STOCKHOLM: Pilots at Scandinavian carrier SAS walked off the job in Sweden, Denmark and Norway on Friday, stranding more than 72,000 travellers as 673 flights were cancelled, the airline said.

A total of 1,409 pilots were on strike, affecting domestic, European and long-haul flights, SAS said, predicting that 170,000 passengers would be affected through Sunday.

The Swedish Air Line Pilots Association, which initiated the strike, said months of negotiations had failed to find a solution to pilots’ «deteriorating work conditions, unpredictable work schedules and job insecurity».

The Swedish Confederation of Transport Enterprises meanwhile said it could not accept the 13-percent wage increase demanded by the pilots, given their «already high average wage of 93,000 kronor (8,766 euros, $9,769) a month».

The pilots’ association said work schedules, and not wages, were the main focus of the negotiations, as most SAS pilots to have work at variable times and days.

«Many SAS pilots have no control over when and how long they have to work. In a worst case scenario, they risk having to work seven weekends in a row,» the pilots’ association said in a statement.

«Everyone who has a family life can imagine how difficult it is to not know when you have to work,» SAS’ Swedish union representative at the pilots’ association, Wilhelm Tersmeden, said. AFP

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