bankruptcy possible if no deal

SAS deadline for union deal: Midnight

Published söndag 18 november 2012 kl 10:26
Updated, söndag 18 november 2012 kl 17:30
SAS vill sänka löner och höja pensionsåldern. Foto: Ned Alley/Scanpix.
SAS wants to lower salaries and raise the retirment age. Photo: Ned Alley/Scanpix.

Scandinavian airline SAS management say they are still in negotiations with unions about pay cuts, working hour extensions and redundancies to keep the company afloat.

Danish Radio reports SAS management have set a deadline of midnight tonight to complete the talks.

If no deal is reached by then it could mean the airline is heading for bankruptcy.

According to Scandinavian news agencies Ritzau and TT counter-proposals from the cabin crew and pilots do not live up to the airline's demands, but new proposals and counter-proposals are being considered all the time.

Swedish cabin crew representative Jennie Zetterström told TT, "We're trying to find a way to make sure the employees have decent conditions, while at the same time making sure the company can survive. We're moving forwards", she said this morning.

Danish pilots union representative Lars Bjørking confirms to DR that the pilot unions from Norway, Denmark and Sweden have sent in a new joint counter-proposal this afternoon to the SAS board, and says this is their final offer.

He tells DR that their proposal would mean cost cutting of a total of 25 percent in both working hours and pay. "If they don't accept this then it's because the board has another agenda, like wanting a reconstruction of the company", he adds.

SAS management has also ordered its planes to take on a full load of fuel, so they can fly back to Scandinavia if the company is declared bankrupt, TT reports. Staff across the world have also been told to have cash ready to pay for hotels if they are abroad.

SAS expects cost cuts, including lay-offs, outsourcing, wage cuts and longer working hours, to improve earnings by SEK 3 billion. In addition the sale of assets would strengthen the company's balance sheet by SEK 3 billion.

A new credit facility worth around SEK 3.5 billion is being provided by banks and the governments of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, which own half of the company, but the deal is conditional on unions agreeing to the wage cuts.

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