Igor KuznetsovAll materialsIn the course of the pandemic, the Scandinavian flag carrier SAS has pink-slipped 5,000 employees and, upon receiving several tranches from the Danish and Swedish states, embarked on a controversial reorganisation to alleviate the looming threat of bankruptcy.Canada’s largest trade union, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLS), has initiated a national boycott of Scandinavian flag carrier SAS, due to the company’s reorganisation.The organisation, which has 3.3 million members in a country of 38 million, and covers all jobs from pilots to teachers and nurses, is strongly critical of the airline’s reorganisation, which includes a renegotiation of collective agreements and may result in staff being laid-off and re-employed on worse terms.According to Tim Perry, president of the Canadian Pilots’ Association ALPA, the company has been employing “unacceptable labour practices”.
"As we understand it, pilots at SAS have lost their jobs and been asked to apply for them again, but with significantly lower wages and working conditions. And we don't think it is an acceptable way to negotiate or treat your employees", Perry said, as quoted by Swedish national broadcaster SVT. "It is unacceptable here in Canada or anywhere else in the world either, I believe", he added.
Perry emphasised that this is the first time the Canadian Labour Congress is calling for a national boycott of an airline and expressed hope that many Canadian travellers will opt out of SAS, knowing the company’s working methods.
SAS, by contrast, claimed that the reorganisation in question will lead to more job opportunities.Swedish Minister of Trade and Industry Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson said the government expects state-owned companies to act in an exemplary manner, by having a healthy and safe working environment and decent working conditions, but emphasised that working conditions are a matter for the board and management, not the owners.The pan-Scandinavian flag carrier SAS is co-owned by the Swedish and Danish governments at 21.8 percent apiece. Before the pandemic, SAS operated 180 aircraft to 90 destinations. Its main hubs include Copenhagen Kastrup, Stockholm Arlanda, and Oslo Gardermoen.However, as dozens of flights were grounded amid the pandemic, the company sank into the doldrums, pink-slipping 5,000 employees, or 40 percent of its workforce, and receiving a series of substantial tranches from its shareholders to stay afloat.Most recently, a forecast by the Norwegian bank DNB claiming that the Nordic flag carrier was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy has sent the airline’s shares into freefall, with a plunge of over 25 percent.