From Iceland — Nurse School Graduates Wear Black Ribbons

Nurse School Graduates Wear Black Ribbons

Published June 20, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Many newly graduated nurses will wear a black ribbon in protest against wage-based gender discrimination in Iceland. At the same time, even more nurses have resigned from their jobs, adding to the growing list of nurse resignations after parliament passed a law that broke their strike.

RÚV reports that 70 nursing students graduating from the University of Iceland today will wear the ribbons. In a statement from the group, they say this is done in protest against the antiquated idea that it is justifiable to pay workers in predominately woman-employed professions a lower wage than more male-dominated professions with a similar educational background.

The students emphasise that they love their field of study and their work, and hope to see financial changes made for a profession that serves the public good in Iceland.

About 125 nurses have resigned so far in the wake of strike-breaking legislation passed by parliament earlier this week. Most recently, about a third of cancer ward nurses have resigned.

The situation has gained international attention, with the 1.3 million strong British trade union UNISON issuing a statement of solidarity for Iceland’s nurses, pointing out that the right to strike is protected by the European Convention on Human Rights. They also call upon the Icelandic government to repeal the legislation.

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