From Iceland — Aluminium Smelter Workers Vote To Go On Strike

Aluminium Smelter Workers Vote To Go On Strike

Published November 6, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
HRV Engineering

The overwhelming majority of workers for the Rio Tinto Alcan aluminium smelter have voted in favour of going on strike.

RÚV reports that the strike is scheduled to begin on December 2. If it goes forward, all operations at the smelter will cease.

Six unions are currently in negotiations with the smelter’s management, but most smelter workers are in the unions Verkalýðsfélagið Hlíf and The Icelandic Union of Marine Engineers and Metal Technicians (VM).

“There have been a great deal of scare tactics coming from management in what they’ve offered,” Gylfi Ingvarsson, one of the main negotiators for the unions, told reporters. “They’ve contended that there’s some kind of misunderstanding going on regarding their offer, and that we haven’t been informing our workers on what the situation actually is. This has gone so far that I seriously doubt that they’re legally allowed to employ these scare tactics at the same time there are meetings with workers and voting going on over a matter as important as a strike.”

One of the major points of contention is that the company would like to be able to offer more positions to contractors.

If the strike goes forward, between 300 and 400 workers could walk out. The next negotiations meeting will be held next week.

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