From Iceland — Most Unions Vote No On Collective Bargaining Agreement

Most Unions Vote No On Collective Bargaining Agreement

Published January 22, 2014

Photo by
Alda Kravec

At the time of this writing, the majority of labour unions within the Icelandic Confederation of Labour Unions (ASÍ) have rejected the collective bargaining agreement that ASÍ made with the Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA) last month.
According to the latest results from ASÍ, 17 labour unions have rejected agreement, while 14 voted to accept it.
Bragi Skúlason, the chairperson of Fræðagarður – the largest labour union within the Association of Academics (BHM) umbrella organisation – told Vísir, “There isn’t a great tradition of academics engaging in tougher [labour] action, but it has happened. We’ve put up with a lot since the economic crash, and now all patience is gone.”
As reported, the agreement struck between ASÍ and SA calls for a 5% wage increase for those making the lowest wages, and a 2.8% increase for everyone else. Union proposals for higher wages than this, as well as tax relief for minimum wage earners, was rejected by management.
In addition, by the new agreement, a person making 246,000 ISK per month will see 8,000 ISK more per month, before taxes, and no rebates on their taxes. At the same time, another person making 1 million ISK per month will get an extra 28,000 ISK per month, plus 3,500 ISK taken off their monthly taxes.
The rejection of the collective bargaining agreement could lead to a strike within those unions who voted against it. Final results are expected to be clearer tomorrow.

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