Norwegian Air pilots to go on strike from Saturday

Norwegian Air pilots to go on strike from Saturday
PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

OSLO - Pilots at Norwegian Air, Europe's third-biggest budget airline, will go on strike from Saturday after talks with the airline broke shortly after midnight, the labour union Parat said.

The strike will initially involve 70 pilots, but could be sharply escalated to 650 pilots on a short notice if there is no deal reached over a collective agreement and work conditions, it added on its website.

Norwegian NTB news agency reported that the strike could be escalated from Wednesday.

Norwegian Air has warned passengers about possible delays over the weekend but said it expected long-haul flights to Asia and the US to proceed as normal.

The airline said on its website that its plan was to implement "a fairly normal" flight programme over the weekend.

The data on its website showed only one local flight cancelled on Saturday, but it was not immediately clear whether the cancellation was related to the strike.

The pilots have demanded a collective labour agreement with the Norwegian Air parent company instead of its local subsidiaries, and have asked for uniform terms across the Nordic region.

The pilots said they have feared that their social security will be weakened as the company seeks to cut costs.

Chief Executive Bjoern Kjos pledged to cut the airline's costs in Scandinavia after it reported wider-than-expected fourth-quarter losses on Feb. 12 due to its fuel hedging, a weaker Norwegian crown and high costs.

"We have great respect for the effective and efficient operation, but it is impossible to accept that the company will dictate and create its own rules...," said Parat's leader Hans-Erik Skjaeggerud.

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