Swedish aircraft technicians go on strike

Air traffic officials warned travelers in Sweden on Thursday of possible delays and cancelations after Swedish aircraft technicians went on strike on Thursday in a wage-related action expected to last through the weekend.

Swedish aircraft technicians go on strike

The action, which began at midnight and is scheduled to continue until midday Saturday, concerns the SAS Tech, Avia Express Sweden and Svenska Direktflyg companies.

Swedavia, the national air traffic control, warned of flight cancellations and delays.

Because of the strike, Scandinavian airline SAS has no technicians available to carryout maintenance on their airplanes, resulting in the cancelation of two domestic and two international departures.

“We’ve canceled four flights so far, but as of now things are moving pretty well. We’re doing everything we can to ensure our customers can get where they want to go. If a flight is cancelled we rebook them on a later flight,” SAS spokesperson Elisabeth Manzi told the TT news agency.

The SFF union said the strike was protesting against a stalemate in wage negotiations. The current action is set to cease on Saturday, but could start again next Thursday if no progress is made.

SAS expects to have to ground more flights by the weekend, but still encourages travelers to travel to the airport as they normally would, unless they receive a text message from the airline alerting them that they’ve been rebooked on another flight.

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‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.