Denmark: wildcat strike by cabin crew

Cancelled SAS flights

Wildcat action by 1600 air hostesses and stewards working for the airline SAS has led to the cancellation of 104 flights in and out of the Danish capital, Copenhagen.

The airline has already cancelled a further 14 flights tomorrow as a precaution and has assured customers that flights with Norwegian and Swedish staf will be unaffected.

The collective bargaining agreement between staff and management expired on March 1 and staff are demanding that working conditions be improved, according to a spokesman for hostesses and stewards SAS has the smallest cabin crews in Europe.

There was also wildcat action last month by the same staff in order to bring pressure on management to improve working conditions and bring in equal pay for staff across the company.

SAS crew have been militant over the past few years, with a pilot's wildcat strike and sickout last year.. The cabin attendants union (CAU) also threatened strike action in 2006 in protest at plans to hire 35 chinese cabin crew. The crew who work exclusively on routes to China were supposedly hired for their chinese language skills. However while some airlines claim that english staff have higher pay due to their language skills these chinese workers do not receive any such bonus; they are paid 20% of the salary of a scandinavian hostess or steward.

After the takeover of norwegian airline Braathens by SAS, there were solidarity strikes with former Braathens workers aimed at winning them equal pay to SAS staff. These strikes crippled the airline over easter weekend 2006.