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Norwegian strike drags on after talks collapse

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Norwegian strike drags on after talks collapse
Parked Boeing 737-800 aircrafts belonging to budget carrier Norwegianis sit at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/Scanpix
09:47 CET+01:00
Some 20,000 passengers will be affected by the Norwegian pilot strike on Sunday as the conflict enters its eighth day.
A limited number of domestic flights in Denmark operated by the budget carried Norwegian will resume on Sunday, including flights between Aalborg and Copenhagen. An evening flight from Billund to Oslo is scheduled to depart as planned.
 
The airline has once again cancelled all domestic flights in Norway and Sweden. Most flights between Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo will also be cancelled Sunday, as will some flights from the Scandinavian capitals to other European destinations, the airline wrote in a press release. 
 
According to Norwegian, the company has come a long way in trying to solve the on-going strike.
 
Europe’s third-biggest budget airline said it has, among other concessions, offered job guarantees to all of the company’s 700 pilots in Scandinavia. But that has not been enough for pilots’ unions, who have demanded their collective agreement be maintained with the parent company instead of its Norwegian Air Norway (NAN) subsidiary.
 
The unions on Thursday rejected a surprise move by Norwegian to split NAN into three and transfer its pilots to the new subsidiaries in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. They denounced the bid as an attempt to divide and rule the striking pilots.
 
Norwegian and pilots’ unions have been in talks nearly all weekend. After 16 hours of negotiations ended at 5.30am Saturday, talks between the company and pilots’ union Parat began anew Saturday at 3pm and ran deep into the night. 
 
As of 9am Sunday morning no breakthrough had been achieved, leading to the latest round of flight cancellations. 
 
Hans-Erik Skjaeggerud, head of the union Parat, told Norwegian news agency NTP on Saturday that pilots were willing to move away from some of their original demands.
 
“We have moved on many different points since the first round,” he said. “Even when it came to what is most important to us, to have an collective agreement with the parent company.”
 
The Norwegian strike began on Saturday, February 28th, when 70 pilots in Norway stopped work. On Wednesday, another 650 pilots – including 100 in Denmark – walked off the job. At the same time, the company sent 800 cabin staff home without pay. 
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