Stockholm (Reuters) -Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian pilot union members have agreed to accept a collective bargaining deal reached with the airline SAS last month, and will therefore not restart their strike, according to a statement released by labour organisations on Saturday.
In July, a 15-day debilitating strike grounded almost 3,700 SAS flights.
In Denmark, the agreement was supported by 93 percent of pilot union members.
Henrik Thyregod, the chairman of the Danish pilots’ union, stated, “I am ecstatic by the overwhelming support for the agreement, especially after such a protracted and difficult fight.”
“The members understand how serious the situation is, and this shows how close the pilots are to each other,” he said.
Unions in Norway and Sweden said that most of their members agreed with the agreement, but they didn’t say how many agreed right away.
Long-suffering SAS, which filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection on the second day of the strike, estimates that the industrial action cost them more than $145 million during the typically successful summer travel high season.
The agreement includes lower compensation and longer hours for the pilots, as well as a promise from SAS, whose largest shareholders are the governments of Sweden and Denmark, to rehire pilots who were laid off during the pandemic.
A U.S. court with jurisdiction over creditors’ interests must also approve the new collective bargaining agreement between SAS and its unions.
Dansk Metal, the union representing Danish pilots, said in a statement that the deal provides pilots with a guarantee that SAS will not establish new subsidiaries on terms different from those currently in place.
SAS, which was already losing money owing to rising competition from low-cost airlines before the epidemic, has stated that it must cut costs more and acquire more funds in order to survive.
While the Swedish government denied the company’s request for more funding, Denmark has indicated that it may provide additional capital if SAS receives backing from private investors.