Police could be planning mass sickness call-ins throughout October in protest of their employment terms, but the Finance Ministry considers the action illegal.
RÚV reports that the Ministry of Finance has sent a letter to The National Police Federation of Iceland (LL), the police officers’ union, contending that the ministry has received information indicating that police around the country are planning a coordinated and simultaneous “calling in sick” for select days in October. Some of these days include times when foreign dignitaries – such as French President Francois Hollande and British PM David Cameron – will be in the country. Visits from foreign heads of state usually necessitate an increased police presence.
The Ministry considers the planned actions to be illegal, amounting to unauthorised work stoppages. As it currently stands, police are forbidden from engaging in any kind of work stoppages or strikes, and have not had the right to strike since 1986.
Police already had one mass call-in last week, leaving entire departments across the country greatly or completely understaffed.
Police have long been unsatisfied with their collective bargaining terms. Last week, a police officer with seven years’ experience posted his payslip on Facebook, showing that for a month working full time with extra duties, he took home about 285,000 ISK after taxes.
Last month, police engaged in random traffic stops to make their case to the general public, one driver at a time. They have also reached out to members of parliament to craft legislation giving them the right to strike again, but such legislation has yet to move forward.