From Iceland — Crisis Averted: Collective Bargaining Agreement Reached

Crisis Averted: Collective Bargaining Agreement Reached

Published October 28, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Gabríel Benjamin

An agreement reached with three unions early this morning will see pay increases and shorter full-time work weeks.

MBL reports that the Union of Public Servants (SFR), the Paramedics Society of Iceland (SLFÍ), the National Police Federation of Iceland (LL) and the state reached a collective bargaining agreement at about 5:00 this morning. The new agreement will soon be introduced to workers within these unions, with a general vote for approval to be held on November 10.

“We in the unions are very pleased with the new agreement, because we set off with a specific goal, which we achieved,” SFR chairperson Árni Stefán Jóns­son told reporters. “You can’t do better than that.”

Vísir reports that amongst the terms of the new agreement that were reached is the promise of a 29% to 32% pay increase over the next three years. At the same time, a full-time work week could be reduced from 40 hours to 36.

If workers within these unions vote in favour of the new agreement, the general strike that was scheduled to begin on November 16 will be averted.

SFR and SLFÍ workers – who are employed in numerous public offices – voted overwhelmingly in favour of going on strike last September, affecting many government offices – including Iceland’s state-run alcohol shops.

The police, who have not had the right to strike since 1986, have nonetheless engaged in organised action to push back against their employers, such as declining to fine people for speeding, thereby depriving the state of funds; “calling in sick” en masse, and making random traffic stops to inform motorists of the police’s labour situation.

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