A strike among pilots at Scandinavian Airlines has entered its fourth day with the carrier being forced to cancel 1,213 flights Monday and Tuesday, affecting some 110,000 passengers.
The flag carrier of Denmark, Norway and Sweden says more than 170,000 passengers have been affected since the open-ended strike started Friday. The strike began after the collapse of pay negotiations with the SAS Pilot Group, which represents 95% of the company’s pilots in the three countries.
SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson on Monday urged the pilots to resume talks on a new collective bargaining agreement.
“Now we both have to take responsibility and come back to concrete discussions to find solutions that also make the company have a future, even after this conflict,” Gustafson told Sweden’s news agency TT.
“We have put attractive offers on the table that they have rejected. Having a list of demands that knocks off the feet of our competitiveness just doesn’t work,” he added.
The pilots’ negotiations, which started in March, are mainly about salary increases and working hours.
Details have not been released but the pan-Scandinavian union says it wants salaries to be in line with the market rate, while SAS negotiators have called the requests “unreasonable and extreme.”
Jacob Pedersen, an analyst with Denmark’s Sydbank, says the pilots want their share of company earnings after the carrier posted a profit in the past four years following a cost saving program that started in 2012.
Pedersen has estimated that the strike in average would cost the company between 60 million and 80 million Swedish kronor ($6.3-8.4 million) a day.