SAS pilots picket over layoff rumours

SAS traffic from Copenhagen is again suffering from delays and cancellations. Pilots have replaced Mother Nature as the culprit

Hardly had SAS flights from Copenhagen taken wing again after this weekend's snow-related delays and cancellations before the airline was again grounded on Monday.

SAS's Danish pilots have walked off the job over consistent rumours of firing rounds from company management. The protest is causing headaches for travellers, as SAS has been forced to cancel dozens of flights.

The pilots have not said how long the walkout will last, and SAS advised passengers to keep a close eye on airport websites for flight information.

By afternoon, over 100 flights had been affected by the strike, and SAS announced that all but nine flights had been cancelled for the rest of the day today.

In addition to the constant rumour of layoffs, SAS's Danish pilots are also dissatisfied with a plan to alter collective bargaining arrangements.

SAS is the flag airline of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Currently, collective bargaining agreements apply for all SAS pilots. The change would have them negotiate based on which country they work in.

The pilots say SAS had previously agreed to keep the current negotiation procedure. Corporate restructuring, however, meant that the airline was not able to do so.

'It will mean a huge loss of rights,' said Mogens Holgaard, head of SAS's pilots association. 'A lot us feel this an attempt to break the unions.'

Sympathy for the Danish strike has spread to Norway, where 50 pilots from SAS Braathens called in sick for work.

No Swedish pilots were reported to be participating in the strike.

Today's pilot strike is unrelated to threats made earlier this month by cabin crews to strike if SAS went ahead with its plan to hire Chinese staff on Asian routes at much lower pay than Scandinavian cabin crews.

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