UK Trade Union Supports Iceland's Nurses - The Reykjavik Grapevine

UK Trade Union Supports Iceland’s Nurses

Published June 19, 2015

Photos by
Sigtryggur Ari Johannsson

The UK’s second largest trade union has issued a statement of solidarity with Iceland’s nurses, who are preparing to take the government to court for strike-breaking legislation levied against them.

At a conference held this week in Glasgow of Unison, a British trade union some 1.3 million members strong, attendees approved the following joint statement:

At the beginning of May the Icelandic Nurses Association and the Icelandic Association of Academics (BHM) whose members include vets, radiologists and midwives voted overwhelmingly to take indefinite strike action beginning on 27 May in protest against the austerity policies of the rightwing Icelandic government. They joined thousands of other Icelandic workers from all sectors of the economy in strike action.

Last weekend the Icelandic parliament met and passed emergency legislation banning the health workers strike in contravention not only of the Icelandic constitution but also the European Convention on Human Rights and ILO conventions all of which guarantee the right to strike.

In protest hundreds and nurses and other health workers have begun to resign from their jobs this week.

UNISON national delegate conference meeting in Glasgow this week sends its solidarity to the Icelandic Nurses Association and the Icelandic Association of Academics and calls on the Icelandic government to immediately repeal the law banning the strike.

In related news, Vísir reports that more resignations have followed, with the majority of nurses in the cardiac catheterisation department of Landspítali now off the job.

At the same time, the Icelandic Nurses Association intends to take the government to court over the strike-breaking legislation. They point out that both the Icelandic constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights defend the nurses’ right to strike.


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