Hundreds of current and laid-off pilots for Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) rallied outside the Norwegian Parliament this week, to protest how the airline is allegedly restructuring itself to avoid Norwegian labour regulations. SAS counters that lower pay and benefits in new subsidiaries are needed to compete with all the low-fare carriers in the market.
The conflict has raged since the Corona crisis eased and flights started taking off again. SAS is insisting that pilots and cabin crew dismissed or laid off during the crisis must reapply for jobs in the new subsidiaries, which don’t offer as high pay or benefits.
The state is also being asked to reinvest in SAS, which is badly in need of more capital after being grounded for so long. The former Conservatives-led government refused to do so, while the new Labor-led government is skeptical but open to the idea. It was during Labour’s former government that a state sell-off of SAS shares began.
SAS pilots and flight attendants have historically had relatively high pay and generous benefits, but the airline once owned by all three Scandinavian countries has struggled for years with the international airline deregulation that sent competition soaring and fares falling. Among those protesting in front of Parliament were members of the pilots’ and cabin crews’ unions.