From Iceland — University Teachers' Strike Discussed In Parliament

University Teachers’ Strike Discussed In Parliament

Published April 15, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Julia Staples

As university teachers are set to vote on a strike tomorrow, the matter has not fallen on entirely deaf ears in parliament.

RÚV reports that members of parliament have received thousands of emails from university students, calling upon them to prevent the strike. Progressive MP Haraldur Einarsson expressed “deep concerns” over the matter, and implored Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson to “solve the problem rather than delay it”.

As reported, 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 demands of the teachers focus first and foremost on what they say is a discrepancy in wages. Whilst all academics are supposed to have the same requirements and meet the same standards of performance, the wages of professors have decreased in comparison to other academics.

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.

At the time of this writing, nearly 3,300 people have signed the petition, although the strike could directly affect some 14,000 students.

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