Lockout is our only option
Air Greenland has been summoned to the Conciliation Institution on 1 April to find a possible solution with Dansk Metal. It is therefore a pity that the dialogue with Dansk Metal is now being conducted through the press. It creates a sense of insecurity for the masses who must travel during the period that the conflict risks hitting.
Therefore, it is important to shed light on what the background to the conflict and the announced lockout are.
- First and foremost, it is Dansk Metal that has announced the strike that closes the Atlantic route down. It happens right after the country is heading towards a normalization after two years of Covid-19 pandemic. What Dansk Metal is up to is thus a long-term conflict, which will slowly but surely suffocate the Greenlandic society, HR Director, Mads B. Christensen points out and continues:
- Precisely for this reason, Air Greenland must make use of the only possible weapon an employer has in connection with a conflict warning, namely a lockout of all employees in the area, in response to the strike announced by Dansk Metal.
With a lockout, Air Greenland sends a signal that the demands made by Dansk Metal are unrealistically high at a time when aviation is under pressure. Within a few years, Air Greenland will face increased competition when the new airports in Nuuk, Ilulissat and Qaqortoq open.
- It is crucial that we can afford to lower ticket prices over the coming years. This requires savings, and it is therefore necessary to have a realistic wage development - also for Dansk Metal's members. We must note that Dansk Metal is basing their facts on wage development in Denmark, and not in Greenland, where our employees work on a daily basis, says Mads B. Christensen and adds:
- Air Greenland has put an agreement forward which is equivalent to the development in Greenland which corresponds to the agreements we have already made with our employees under SIK and HK, among others, as well as employees on individual contracts, a total of 275 employees. It is a realistic wage development, which at the same time means that we can reach the goal of cheaper tickets, says Mads B. Christensen
Unrealistic flight capacity via Iceland
When Dansk Metal chooses to close down the only direct route between Greenland and Denmark, Dansk Metal are well aware that it will also have a decisive impact on air traffic in the country.
- For the Greenlandic society, the equivalent of what Dansk Metal is doing would be that virtually all transport routes to Denmark (railways, bridges / roads, ferries and flights) from Europe, are closed from one day to the next, says HR director, Mads B. Christensen, adding:
- Dansk Metal tries to give the outside world the impression that the need for transport in and out of the country can be solved with a route to Iceland a couple of times a week with a 37-seat propeller plane. The reality is that today that need is met by an Airbus 330-200, which flies four to seven times a week with 278 seats including cargo capacity, where critical medical tests, supplies, spare parts and more are transported back and forth in a set system that cannot just be changed from one day to the next.
In short, there is no capacity via Iceland and Icelandair to service and maintain the need for passenger transport, freight and critical infrastructure to and from Greenland. In addition, the journey via Iceland to Denmark and Europe will most often be connected with an overnight stay, which further complicates and makes the journey more expensive.
- And this is where Dansk Metal once again exhibits their lack of knowledge of our infrastructure, he states.
Discussion in the media creates concerns
The latest announcements in connection with the announced conflict have only taken place through the Danish and Greenlandic media. That development frustrates Air Greenland.
- We are sorry that this is going on in the media. It creates a lot of concerns for our travelers, who are already starting to cancel family trips and have to change long-awaited travel plans - again. Sports associations are concerned because GM is taking place across the country during the period when conflict is announced, and shipping companies are starting to look for alternatives. Should there be a conflict, which we do not hope for, then it is absolutely crucial for society that it is as short as possible. That is why we choose to respond again with a lockout, concludes HR Director, Mads B. Christensen.
Air Greenland's lockout notice goes into effect on April 11. But the parties will meet for negotiations in the Conciliation Institution on April 1, where the parties will try to reach an agreement.
March 21, 2022, 12:45 p.m.