Norway’s air ambulances were cleared for take-off again this weekend, but conflicts involving their pilots remained unresolved. Neither the pilots’ union nor their employers’ representative could report any progress.
The ambulance service has been in crisis since the company that’s run it for many years was outbid by a foreign-owned newcomer last year. The new operator finally agreed to offer permanent jobs to the pilots now flying the air ambulances, which helped get them back in the air as needed, but there’s still no agreement on wages and benefits, with the pilots fearing large pay cuts.
“Now the ball is lying with Flygerforbundet (the pilots’ union),” claimed Torbjørn Lothe of aviation employers’ organzation NHO Luftfart.
“We haven’t received any offer,” responded union leader Yngve Carlsen. NHO and the union have different interpretations of what’s involved in new operator Babcock’s offer of permanent jobs to the pilots. Negotiations were exepected to begin next week.