From Iceland — Education Minister Hopes To Avoid Strike

Education Minister Hopes To Avoid Strike

Published March 11, 2014

Minister of Education Illugi Gunnarssonn told parliament today that he hopes to avoid a strike of secondary school teachers, which is now a week away.

RÚV reports that former Education Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir asked Illugi about the ongoing collective bargaining conflict with Iceland’s secondary school teachers. Illugi replied that he hopes to avoid a strike, and that “everything will be tried in the coming days to find a solution to this difficult problem”, but would not comment on the matter further than that.

As reported, 86.9% of The Icelandic Teachers’ Unions and The Association of Deputy Headteachers in Upper Secondary Schools recently participated in a strike vote. Of those, 87.6% voted in favour of going on strike.

The core of the dispute centres around secondary school teachers, who have been deeply unsatisfied with the terms being offered by the state, especially with regards to wage increases. In a recent statement to the press, they demanded that “the government revoke its [collective bargaining] representative at once, to present a realistic offer at the negotiations table to correct our salaries, and insure a natural salary development in the future. This, and only this, can create the foundation discussions about the future of secondary schools for the teaching class.”

Furthermore, even Icelandic students have shown public support for the labour demands of their teachers.

If a counteroffer from the state that secondary school teachers elect to accept is not made, the strike will begin March 17.

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