Norwegian strike would paralyse airline
The Norwegian Pilot Union has come out in support of the cabin staff and announced that its members would walk out in sympathy with in the event of a strike over an ongoing dispute with the Norwegian airline, the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has reported.
Norwegian wants to split the Danish and Norwegian cabin staff into two separate companies: Cabin Services Norway and Cabin Services Denmark. On May 7 negotiations broke down between the trade organisation Parat, which represents the cabin staff, and NHO Luftfart, the Federation of Norwegian Aviation Industries, which represents Norwegian. Parat believes that the new structure would weaken its members' negotiating power.
Shocked by treatment of cabin staff
Halvor Vatnar, the head of the pilots’ union, told Aftenposten that he is shocked by how the company’s management has treated the Norwegian and Danish cabin staff.
“We would follow the applicable rules for an industrial action and there would be a formal notification of the walkout of pilots,” Vatner told Aftenposten.
“We would thereafter be able to start a sympathy action 14 days after the notification is sent. We hope that we can avoid going on strike to support those who work in the cabin. We hope that the warning today speeds up the efforts to reach a negotiated agreement.”
Uncertainty for passengers
Norwegian is critical of the pilot union’s announcement.
“When these new strike threats come, it’s destructive for all parties,” Daniel Kirchoff from Norwegian’s communications department told Berlingske Business.
“It’s an unfortunate situation for everyone concerned and there’s no-one at the company who is served by it. The situation obviously creates a lot of uncertainty for our passengers and that’s regrettable. It’s important in that regard to say that Parat and the Cabin Attendents Union have made some demands that are difficult to meet because they concern how we organise the company in the future. We’re prepared to negotiate and find a solution, but it’s important for us to retain the right to decide over the company.”
The earliest date for an official cabin staff strike to begin is May 18.