The National Police Federation of Iceland (LL) is calling for a meeting with members of parliament, in the hopes of getting back the right to strike.
Icelandic police once had the right to go on strike, but this was rescinded in 1986. Vísir reports that last Wednesday, LL sent a letter to every parliamentary chairperson, calling for a meeting to make that a reality again.
Frímann B. Baldursson, the vice chairperson of LL, told reporters that state officials have made it clear that the right to strike will not be on the collective bargaining table without legislation backing it up. Eyrún Eyþórsdóttir, an alternate MP for the Left-Greens, submitted a bill supporting this right during the previous parliamentary session, but it never made it out of committee.
“The average police officer would probably not go on strike,” he said. “There would probably be a definition set for what is considered security work within the police force. There are plenty of jobs within the force that are not considered security work.”
The proposal already has support from some members of parliament. Independence Party MP and former police officer Vilhjálmur Árnason, for one, says he has discussed the idea with both the Independence Party chairperson Bjarni Benediktsson and with Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal, also of the Independence Party. Social Democrat MP Helgi Hjörvar told reporters he considers it “natural” that the police would want the right to strike.
“I think it is understandable that they would head in this direction,” he said. “But it would, of course, be best for them and for society as a whole if their collective bargaining terms could be ensured without having to resort to striking.”