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Mediation on overtime – still a risk of a Norwegian strike

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There is still a risk of a strike at Norwegian. The parties to the mediation do not reach an agreement within the deadline and continue overtime. Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB

Of NTB | 01.06.2024 00:13:00

Economy and business: The parties had a deadline to reach an agreement in the mediation for the pilots at midnight on the night of Saturday. At midnight, national mediator Mats Ruland confirmed to NTB that the mediation will continue overtime.

If there is a breach, 17 pilots will be taken out on strike from the start of working hours on Saturday. Furthermore, a further 66 pilots will go on strike in the period from Monday to Friday.

Norwegian informs NTB that they will return with information when the situation is more clarified.

– All passengers can check the status of departures on Norwegian’s website, says the airline’s press officer just after midnight.

– There are large and quite complex topics that have not been resolved and which we will spend the next few hours on, said Ruland.

Before the mediation started, managing director Erik Lahnstein of NHO Luftfart told NRK that there was considerable distance between the parties.

– We hope that we will agree on frameworks that are in line with what is common in Norwegian working life. A normal wage increase is around 5 per cent, says Lahnstein.

The pilots, on the other hand, are demanding a pay rise of between 25 and 38 per cent over two years.

– We work six out of nine weekends. In addition, we have the highest workload during the periods when most people and their families want time off. This applies to summer holidays, autumn holidays, Christmas holidays, winter holidays, Easter holidays and other holidays. We work less in the winter, but we have to come to an agreement on a better balance between work and private life, says Alf Hansen, leader of the pilots, to Ready24.

When it comes to the wage requirement, Hansen says that pilot wages are high compared to Norwegian industrial worker wages, but that Norwegian pilots have lost out in the wage battle compared to the European labor market of which they are a part.

– This gap between our salary and colleagues’ salary in Europe, also within our own company, we must do something about.

Lahnstein therefore claims that it would be wrong to point to Norwegian’s record high operating profit for 2023, which ended at NOK 2.23 billion, but says that in a longer perspective it is the exception rather than the rule.

Pilot manager Hansen says that the pilots through difficult periods and reconstruction have contributed to growth and profits.

– Now is the time to close the pay gap for colleagues in the company who work at other bases in Europe. The company must realize that we are part of a European labor market, and we must be paid accordingly, says Hansen.

Three hours before the deadline expired, Ruland added Television 2 that the parties had come closer to each other, but that there was still much to be done.

The mediation covers many topics, but the two most important are working hours and finances. From the pilots’ side, the requirements are about a better balance between work and private life, including in the form of more predictability.

The NHO director says the industry has been through an extremely demanding period, which has also hit Norwegian hard. Norwegian has been through a financial restructuring, where owners and creditors took write-downs of over NOK 100 billion.

(© NTB)

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