Norwegian cabin crew begin strike action

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Trade union Parat, which represents cabin crew with Norwegian, has called an official strike after talks over pay and condition broke down in the early hours of this morning and the airline sent what the union preceived as a threatening text message warning members of consequences if industrial action were to go ahead.

One member of the union’s Norway-based cabin crew is now on strike and more are expected to follow after talks over a collective bargaining agreement for staff based in Norway and Denmark broke down.

The airline confirms it then sent cabin crew a text message outlining some of the consequences if strike action proceeded.

These include the closure of three of the airline’s four cabin crew bases in Norway, forcing staff living in Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim to move to Oslo; transfer of Norway-based staff to a third-party contractor; and removal of crew travel discount privileges for three years.

Parat compares the tactic to one adopted by British Airways in its dispute with cabin crew in 2010, but says the text message only made members more resolved to press on with strike action.

“Many [members] are frustrated, others are scared of course, but nevertheless they are filled with fighting spirit,” Parat leader Hans-Erik Skjaeggerud tells Flightglobal. “The clear message from members is to stay on this road and make sure we get this collective agreement for cabin crew at Norwegian.”

Skjaeggerud says a full-blown strike by cabin crew based in Norway and Denmark could begin within five to 19 days but before this could happen Danish crew would need to complete a government-backed mediation process.

Parat is locked in a dispute with Norwegian over the airline’s decision to create two separate cabin crew branches in Norway and Denmark and negotiate pay and conditions with them individually. Parat wants a collective agreement for all staff.