News
Government Passes Law Making Airline Strike Illegal

Government Passes Law Making Airline Strike Illegal

Photos by
Maarten Visser

Published May 15, 2014

A new law will put striking workers in violation of the law, although the law itself is not without its detractors – even from within management.

The law in question, introduced by Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, would make any kind of interrupting of the workplace at Keflavík International Airport – be it a strike, half-day strike, or sit-in – illegal. If a collective bargaining agreement between the striking workers and management is not reached by June 1, the matter will be referred to a special committee consisting of one representative of The Professional Pilots Union (FÍA), the Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA) and one judge from the Supreme Court. This committee will then in turn decide on the new collective bargaining agreement by July 1.

The law is a controversial one, as the right to strike is protected by Article 75 of the Icelandic constitution, and may only be limited “if it is necessary to a democratic society due to national security or public interest” by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The legality of the ban on the strike is, therefore, subject to interpretation. In fact, Hanna Birna cited Article 8, RÚV reports, for submitting the ban for parliamentary approval.

Unsurprisingly, airline pilots are not happy with the law, MBL reports. FÍA director Örn­ólf­ur Jóns­son told reporters, “We have the law on our side and we are very unhappy with [the ban]. There’s a lot of anger amongst us.”

At the same time, even management has taken issue with the law. RÚV reports that Icelandair director Björgólfur Jóhannsson puts priority on “having a collective bargaining agreement with all of our employees, and pilots are no exception,” adding that he believes the best outcome for all involved would be a collective bargaining agreement established between the concerned parties.

That being the case, it is expected that labour talks could shift into high gear to prevent the matter from being taken to a 3-person committee – and to prevent striking workers from being arrested.


News
Minister Of The Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir To Resign

Minister Of The Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir To Resign

by

Minister of the Interior, Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, is expected to announce that she is stepping down today and will not return to parliament until the New Year, according to RÚV. Hanna Birna has been under a lot of scrutiny following the leak of incriminating and falsified information about Nigerion asylum seeker Tony Omos. She has maintained her innocence throughout the affair, even after her aide Gísli Freyr Valdórsson admitted to the leak. Despite the Independence party and PM Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson declaring their support of her, a lot of pressure has been on her to resign, including from the 1,000 people that

News
Pressan Acquires Newspaper DV

Pressan Acquires Newspaper DV

by

Vefpressan, the publishing company behind such websites as Pressan.is, Eyjan.is and Bleikt.is, has acquired 70% of newspaper DV’s stocks. This was announced this Friday morning. Björn Ingi Hrafnsson, once a member of Reykjavík city council on behalf of the Progressive Party, has been titled as DV’s publisher. This comes following turbulence among the owners and board of DV, which saw former editor Reynir Traustason discharged. Hallgrímur Thorsteinsson was hired as editor in his place. Björn Ingi has not revealed his intentions or plans regarding the purchase. Vefpressan’s news release merely explains that the publishing of DV has now been “secured”

News
Increased Use Of Antidepressants

Increased Use Of Antidepressants

by

Anxiety and antidepressants are prescribed 70% more often in Iceland than 10 years ago and Icelanders consume more antidepressants than any other OECD nation, reports RÚV. According to the Directorate of Health, in 2013 39,000 people were prescribed antidepressants and 34,000 people were prescribed sleeping aids at least once. The most commonly used sleeping pill in Iceland is Zopiclone. The Directorate of Health wrote that Zopiclone should not be used for longer than 2-4 weeks but that many Icelanders are getting prescriptions that last much longer than that, in some cases, even years.

News
Feminists Want Statue Of Bríet

Feminists Want Statue Of Bríet

by

The Icelandic Women’s Rights Association (IWRA) has sent the City of Reykjavík a letter suggesting they erect a statue of suffragette Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir, reports RÚV. Bríet, along with other women’s rights activists founded the IWRA in 1907 and ran the association for 20 years. She is considered the catalyst of the women’s rights movement in Iceland. The IRWA suggested in their letter to City Hall that a statue in a prominent place in Reykjavík would be a great homage to Bríet’s memory and fitting as next year marks 100 years since women gained the right to vote in Iceland. To

News
BREAKING: No Butter Shortage This Christmas

BREAKING: No Butter Shortage This Christmas

by

Icelandic dairy producer, Mjólkursamsalan (MS Iceland Dairies), has confirmed that there will be no shortage of butter at supermarkets this upcoming holiday season, reports RÚV. Last year, in the wake of a potentially crippling butter shortage, MS Iceland Dairies was forced to source 90 tonnes of butter from Ireland. Einar Sigurðsson, CEO of MS Iceland Dairies, told RÚV that new measures have been put in place to ensure there will be enough butter this year and in the years to come. These measures include improvements to feeding technology and an increase in dairy cows. As reported, not all of the

News
Kicking Off Iceland Noir 2014

Kicking Off Iceland Noir 2014

by

Following the easygoing success of last year’s inaugural Iceland Noir crime lit festival, this year’s event is already off to a good start. The three day festival will involve two jam-packed days of author panels, talks, and readings at the Nordic House, as well as a Sunday ‘Snæfellsnes Mystery Tour’ lead by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir. But while the festival itself is limited to registered participants, tonight’s opening event—an evening of crime fiction readings (in English and Icelandic) hosted by the Icelandic Crime Society—was open to the general public. The spacious upstairs salon at Sólon, the downtown bar which is also doubling

Show Me More!