© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: SAS flights listed at Copenhagen airport, July 3, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – SAS and pilot unions were set to resume negotiations over new collective agreements on Monday as a crippling strike, that the Scandinavian airline has said is threatening its existence, entered its third week.

Most SAS pilots in Sweden, Denmark and Norway walked out onJuly 4 after talks over conditions related to the carrier’srescue plan collapsed. The parties returned to the negotiatingtable in the Swedish capital on July 13.

Talks have continued throughout the weekend. On Saturday, a mediator said that the parties had made progress, but that significant issues had yet to be resolved.

Long-struggling SAS needs to attract new investors and secure bridge financing, saying it must first slash costs to achieve those objectives.

Pilots employed in the 75-year-old carrier’s SAS Scandinaviasubsidiary said after talks collapsed they would agree to limited wage cuts and less favourable terms, while SAS said the concessions offered were not enough for it to carry out a rescue plan announced in February.

Unions also demand that pilots axed during the pandemic arerehired at SAS Scandinavia rather than having to compete withexternal applicants for jobs on less attractive terms atrecently created SAS Link and Ireland-based SAS Connect

For Monday, 183 SAS flights, or 57% of those scheduled, werecancelled, according to flight-tracking platform FlightAware.Pilots at SAS Link and SAS Connect are not on strike.

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