March 4, 2015
Norwegian Air’s plans to minimise strike impact seen as a breach of strike rules
Norwegian Air Norway has seen the strike which began with 70 pilots on Saturday extend to 650 pilots on Wednesday, March 4th. The strike began when talks to negotiate equal pay rates for all pilots across the Nordic region failed to materialize. Instead the low-cost carrier, and subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle, will see its pilots’ pay remaining based on that of other local subsidiaries and not the main airline. The substantial increase of the number of striking pilots has seen Norwegian Air take a defiant stance by aiming to bring in other air crew and staff, plus aircraft, to minimise the effects of the strike which is expected to see over 35,000 passengers affected this Wednesday with the cancelation of all the domestic flights in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, plus flights between the capital cities of the three countries. Most long-haul flights are not yet expected to be affected by the strike.
However, the unions are unhappy at comments made by Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen, the airline’s spokesman: “We are going to hire planes and staff in the hope that we manage to complete some Europe routes today. When the subsidiary is not able to deliver the services they are supposed to, then we must get it elsewhere.” To the striking pilots these actions are seen as a breach of striking rules and, as a consequence, they are calling on the pilots of other airlines to come out on strike in sympathy of their predicament and the subsequent actions of the airline. “We hope they will come and help us,” head of the Parat union, Hans-Erik Skjaeggestad, is reported as saying. 40 Swedish pilots employed by Norwegian air are believed to be going on strike, in sympathy, on Wednesday as well.