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‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

Pictured is an SAS aircraft.
An SAS plane approaches Arlanda airport, north of Stockholm File Photo by Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP.

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers. 

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ECONOMY

Danish central bank says house prices will fall and inflation continue in 2023

Denmark’s central bank Nationalbanken predicts a decline in house prices in 2023 and 2024 in a new economic forecast.

Danish central bank says house prices will fall and inflation continue in 2023

The prediction on house prices is included in the National Bank’s latest review of the Danish economy’s prospects.

According to the central bank, house prices will fall by an average of 5.6 percent in 2023. They will continue to fall in 2024, dropping by 1.8 percent.

The latest prognosis represents a departure from the previous forecast issued by the national bank in March, in which it said it expected house prices to increase by 1.7 percent next year and by 2.1 percent in 2024.

READ ALSO: Should you buy now if you’re looking for a property in Denmark?

The economy is expected to have a tough year in 2023, according to the Nationalbanken forecast.

Inflation will be 4.3 percent, the central bank says, meaning another year of stinging price increases, albeit at a lower level of inflation than the 8.6 percent expected for the whole of 2022.

In 2024, inflation will return to a lower level of 1.7 percent.

Although GDP is predicted to be up by 2 percent at the end of this year, it will drop by 0.1 percent in 2023 before a 1.2 percent increase in 2024.

GDP predictions are also more pessimistic than they were in the March forecast, which expected a 2.1 growth in 2023.

“We can prepare ourselves for a period with weakened [economic] activity and a fall in employment,” the director of the National Bank, Lars Rohde, said in statements accompanying the release of the forecast.

“But it should be kept in mind that this is happening [in Denmark] at a conjuncture following the coronavirus pandemic, which caused a very pressed labour market,” he said.

“It is important to bring down the high inflation. That will require a significant tightening of financial policies and that will unfortunately be felt by everyone – companies and individuals,” he said.

“If we don’t get inflation under control, the costs for society will just get even bigger,” he said to DR.

EXPLAINED: What’s causing the highest inflation rate in Denmark for almost 40 years?

Projected high energy prices this winter are among causes for the expected continuation of inflation next year. Interest rates have also been pushed up.

Unemployment is predicted to increase slightly but will remain at a comparatively low level of 89,000 next year, Nationalbanken said.

Denmark’s unemployment rate is lower than in most other European countries, resulting in a labour shortage.

“The combination of great strain in the labour market, high demand and high inflation create the risk of a self-fulfilling wage-price spiral in Denmark. We therefore believe that fiscal policy must be tightened as soon as possible to significantly bring down demand. This should be by more than what the government proposes in the draft budget,” Rohde told DR.

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