From Iceland — What the news?! There’s No Negotiations With These Humpbacks

What the news?! There’s No Negotiations With These Humpbacks

Published March 11, 2023

What the news?! There’s No Negotiations With These Humpbacks
Photo by
Gitte Van der Meersch

Free whale watching in Hafnarfjörður

Three humpback whales have been frequenting the harbour of Hafnarfjörður since mid-February. The Icelandic Marine & Freshwater Research Institute identified two of the whales as having previously been spotted back in 2021 — one in Ísafjörður and the other by Húsavík. Both were then spotted in Faxaflói bay later the same year. And now they’re chilling one town over from Reykjavík. 

Dolphins and minke whales have also been sighted in the harbour, but less frequently than the humpback trio. The Grapevine’s staff spotted a single humpback whale on February 24 and it was majestic. That whale swam leisurely around the harbour in the 30 minutes we spent looking on. It was far from camera shy, as you can see in the pic accompanying this article. 

Humpback whales are usually between 13 and 17 metres in length and can weigh up to 40,000 kilos. They used to be rare in the waters around Iceland and back in 1987 only about 2000 of them were thought to be around the island. Luckily that number rose in the early 2000s and has stabilised at around 14,000 whales.

Efling vs. SA

Following a staring competition between Efling union and the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA), the bourgeoisie of Icelandic capital decided to accept a work ban on Efling union members. Then, in a dick move to bring back Efling to the negotiation table, SA promised to walk back the work ban if Efling cancelled their scheduled strikes and negotiated. 

And so, on Wednesday, March 1, both parties agreed to sit down and at least try to play nice. Ástráður Haraldsson, appointed state mediator, put forward a mediation proposal which both parties agreed to vote on. That vote will go down March 3, with all strikes and work bans postponed in the meanwhile. Speculations about government interventions in the dispute have been made, but prime minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir has said it is untimely to talk about potential legislation. 

What’s the point of being in power if you won’t tell people what to do?

Highest inflation since so-called “economic collapse”

Iceland has frequently claimed being “best í heimi” (best in the world) in many a category, though often this has come with the addendum of that being “per capita”. When it comes to inflation, though, we tend to at least be “best in Europe”, something we may not be too keen on boasting about. While mainland Europe has been grappling with energy price infused inflation in the past year, Iceland has managed to reach an inflation rate of 10.2% as of February 27th — without any energy crisis to speak of! 

This is the highest recorded rate of inflation Iceland has had since the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008-9, when inflation reached 10.8% in September 2009. 

Iceland’s central bank Governor, Dr. Ásgeir Jónsson, has in the past few months, frequently referred to Icelanders’ love of vacationing in Tenerife as one of the main indicators of private spending that is fueling the inflation. Given that around 70.000 Icelanders had visited Tenerife by December 1 last year, and unconfirmed reports have estimated that at least  2.000 have visited every week since then, we may be looking forward to more record breaking inflation still to come.

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