SAS pilots threaten strike at end of April

Pilots working for the SAS airline across Scandinavia have threatened to strike at the end of April if their requests on working conditions aren't met by the employer.

SAS pilots threaten strike at end of April
SAS has suffered pilot shortages in recent months. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT
The notification of the possible strike came after unsuccessful negotiations on a collective bargaining agreement, with salary increases the biggest sticking point but other issues relating to working hours and scheduling.

The SAS Pilot group, which represents almost all (95 percent) of the airline's pilots in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, has given notice of a strike if a compromise cannot be reached.

If the strike went ahead, Easter travel would not be affected, but it would begin from midnight on April 26th. 

A negotiator for Scandinavia's SAS airline has hit back at what he called the pilots' “unreasonable and extreme demands”.
“The pilots have an average salary of 93,000 SEK ($10,000) a month and their demands involve a 15 percent increase,” Torbjörn Granevärn, chief negotiator for the Swedish Confederation of Transport Enterprises, told the Expressen newspaper, adding that the demands were “so extreme that they threatened job security and the sustainability of the company.”  

The SAS Pilot group has said that their salary requests are in line with the market rate.

Granevärn, who is handling the talks for SAS, complained that the leaders of the Swedish Pilot's Union had snubbed negotiations planned for Monday and instead decided to float the prospect of a strike in the media. 
“This represents a warning of a strike actions against the background of these extreme demands,” he said. “It's unfortunate as it leads to concern among SAS's customers.” 
Wilhelm Tersmeden, who chairs the SAS group at the Swedish Pilot's Union, instead blamed the airline for the break-down in negotiations. 
“My understanding is that SAS did not want to continue the talks,” he said. “For me it's pointless to sit with your mouth shut at a negotiating table when one side is just sitting there and saying 'no' to everything.” 
The Swedish National Mediation Office has now been called in to bring the two sides together. 
Granevärn said he was hopeful that the two sides would be able reach a solution before the planned strike becomes a reality. 

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US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Authorities in the USA have announced the end of the Covid-testing requirement for arrivals from Europe, meaning that fully vaccinated people will soon be able to travel between Europe and the US without needing pre-travel tests.

US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Most of Europe had dropped the testing requirement for fully-vaccinated arrivals in the spring, but the US has maintained the requirement to show proof of a negative test for all arrivals.

However on Friday, the Biden administration announced that it would not renew the testing requirement.

The new rule is expected to come into effect at 12.01 Sunday EDT, until then passengers will still need to show a negative Covid test before they can board a plane to the US.

The US currently bars unvaccinated travellers from entry – although this does not apply to US citizens, US residents or those travelling for essential reasons – there was no announcement on lifting this restriction. 

The CDC said that testing requirements could be reinstated if new variants of Covid emerge, and added that it continues to recommend pre-travel testing. 

Covid travel rules vary between individual countries in Europe, but most countries now only require pre-departure tests for unvaccinated travellers. Check the rules of the country you are travelling to for full details. 

To be counted as ‘fully vaccinated’ travellers must have received both doses of an EMA-approved vaccine – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (or a single dose of Janssen).

If their vaccination was more than nine months ago, they need a booster shot in order to be considered fully vaccinated – people who have had a booster do not need a second, even if their booster shot was more than nine months ago.