From Iceland — Teachers Go Back to School on Monday

Teachers Go Back to School on Monday

Published April 4, 2014

Government negotiators and the secondary school teachers signed a new collective bargaining agreement today, although it falls short of the teachers’ initial demands.

Vísir reports that the agreement includes a 6.8% general pay rise, to be doled out in three steps between now and October 2016. A 2.8% pay rise goes into effect now, followed by a 2% increase on January 1, 2015, and then a 2% increase on January 1, 2016.

This is below the 17% pay raise asked for by The Icelandic Teachers’ Union and The Association of Deputy Headteachers in Upper Secondary Schools. Even with the pay rise, Icelandic teachers’ salaries still remain the lowest of other Scandinavian countries.

The strike has been ongoing for three weeks now, and teachers and students alike are expected to return to school on Monday. However, this does not mean the labour struggle of educational workers is over.

The Association of University Teachers is set to vote on a strike on April 9. If approved, the strike would take place from April 25 to May 10 – a time when university exams are held.

The University of Iceland Student Rights Office has already begun a petition, directed at parliament in general and Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson in particular, to meet the demands of these teachers. The students contend that a strike could cause major problems regarding not only exam times, but also student loan payments, summer jobs and summer vacations.

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