SAS flying again after strike called off

SAS Ground Handling workers walked off the job earlier this evening in response to the airline forcing new negotiations over working hours and salary. They are back on the job now, but not before creating headaches for travellers.

SAS flying again after strike called off
Baggage handlers are back on the job after a three-hour strike ahead of the busiest travel day of the year. File photo: Lisa Kastrup/Scanpix

A strike by SAS Ground Handling at the Copenhagen Airport has now been called off. 

TV2 News reports that the striking workers have returned to the job after a nearly three hour strike that caused at least two cancellations, delayed at least a dozen other flights and left passengers fuming.

See our interview with a stranded passenger

A SAS spokesperson said that the striking workers would meet with management officials on Friday to continue negotiations over working hours and salary. According to Ritzau, the strike was a result of SAS leadership laying off 900 baggage handlers in order to force new negotiations on a local level. 

SAS spokesperson said that move was a result of the airline's recently-posted quarterly results in which "earnings did not look too good". 

"We have carried out some efficiency improvements at SAS including, among other things, a rescheduling of working hours," SAS's head of communications, Trine Kromann-Mikkelsen told Ritzau.

SAS posted a second-quarter loss of 890 million kroner ($162 million) on June 18, which CEO Rickard Gustafson called "substantially below our own expectations".
SAS Ground Handling employees will continue negotiations with SAS leadership tomorrow, but for now have returned to work.
Some passengers affected by this evening's strike were sent out of Copenhagen without their baggage.
"They are flying us without luggage," stranded passenger Pat Potter, who is flying to Rome, told The Local. "If you don't fly without luggage, then SAS says you are responsible for your own transportation and hotel – what crap! When they said that, it really set people off."
The end of the strike came at a crucial time for SAS. Tomorrow is expected to be the busiest day of the year at Copenhagen Airport, with upwards of 100,000 travellers on what is the first day of summer holiday.

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