NAS strike goes on

Nine days later, neither side has budged in the strike affecting an estimated 35,000 passengers

Photo: Biggerben / Wikimedia Commons Norwegian Air Shuttle landing in Salzburg.

Photo: Biggerben / Wikimedia Commons
Norwegian Air Shuttle landing in Salzburg.

Michael Sandelson
The Foreigner

European cockpit colleagues cite cheapness concerns. Travel misery continues for Europe passengers amongst reports of possible negotiations.

“The race to the bottom between airlines to set unsustainable terms and conditions should be fought at every opportunity,” the Ryanair Pilot Group (RPG) says in a statement.

“The actions of NPU pilots operating for NAS to protect normal employment contracts and working conditions deserve the maximum support of every worker in Europe,” they add, citing a European Commission-funded report into dumping and safety.

Norwegian Pilots Union aircrew working for Norwegian Air Shuttle through wholly-owned Scandinavia subsidiary Norwegian Air Norway (NAN) have been on strike since Saturday, Feb. 28.

Wednesday, March 4, saw the industrial action widened. All domestic Norway flights were cancelled, some Sweden and Denmark domestic flights affected, and most inter-Scandinavian capitals flights cancelled. The strike hit some 35,000 passengers.

“I’m not sure Norwegian realize what implications this [walkout] will have in the rest of the world,” Parat union leader Hans-Erik Skjæggerud told The Foreigner.

And while there had been some contact between them and Norwegian the first week of March, the situation was much the same by the end of that week.

Norwegian has been hiring in aircraft and pilots from other countries in efforts to provide some semblance of service, which unions view as strike-busting.

Talking of “last resort industrial action,” pilots at low-cost carrier Ryanair say other airlines or NAS pilots in other countries should resist Norwegian’s attempts to garner support to “the maximum extent legally possible.”

“The threat and risks associated with the employment models being adopted by NAS and other low-cost carriers are not acceptable in any modern industry, and we commend our colleagues in NPU for their efforts to secure normal employment contracts and working conditions,” they conclude.

According to NTB, Norwegian is now attempting to get the National Mediator (Riksmekleren) aboard for negotiations with union Parat and pilots. Both parties wish an end to the strike, reports NRK.

Affected passengers in Scandinavia can check the status of their flights on Norwegian’s web pages (in Norwegian).

Update: Talks were scheduled to resume on Monday, March 9, after a short break. As of press time, no agreement had been reached.

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit theforeigner.no.

It also appeared in the March 13, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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