SAS employees end industrial action against outsourcing

The dispute between Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS) and its ground staff was resolved after a meeting between management and trade union representatives on 9 August 1999. SAS management reluctantly accepted the unions' demand not to consider a possible outsourcing of ground staff

The dispute between the Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS) and its ground staff was resolved after a meeting between management and trade union representatives on 9 August 1999 in Stockholm, Sweden. On 14 July 1999, Norwegian ground staff who are members of the SAS Personnel Club (SAS Personalklubb) had resorted to industrial action, and refused to work overtime, in protest against the airline's possible plans to increase company earnings by means of outsourcing approximately 7,000 jobs in Norway, Sweden and Denmark (NO9907143N). More SAS employees joined the strike on 27 July.

The trade unions demanded that the present process of deliberation taking place within SAS with a view to improving company earnings, must not lead to loss of jobs nor alter the terms of employment of SAS employees. Employees want to retain their employment relationship with SAS. As such, SAS management reluctantly accepted the unions' demand not to consider a possible outsourcing of SAS ground staff. Management continued to stress the need to consider future measures to improve the financial situation of SAS, and that ground staff, as well as other employees, must be prepared to accept processes of reorganisation within the company. The future shape of SAS ground services is thus still uncertain. The management did not make any promises with regard to any future "downsizing" in the number of employees within the enterprise. Furthermore, some sort of cooperative scheme with the German enterprise GlobeGround may still take place, although not with the consequence of the employees changing their employer. The trade unions are not opposed to such a solution, and pledged their full support for the main objective of cutting costs.

SAS is witnessing a period of relatively poor financial turnover, and its competitiveness is being challenged from many sides. Thus, the process of deliberation which has been initiated is an attempt to regain some of its lost strength, and to find ways to reduce company costs by approximately SEK 3.5 billion. SAS chief, Jan Stenberg, stated in an interview with the Dagens Næringsliv newspaper (on 10 August 1999) that the process of reducing costs will take place with or without the consent of the trade unions concerned.

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