Merchant Ship Workers May Strike - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Merchant Ship Workers May Strike

Published February 1, 2016

Photos by
AlfvanBeem/Wikimedia Commons

Merchant ship workers have been without a contract since last summer, and a break down in negotiations may lead to a strike.

RÚV reports that captains and engineers alike have been trying to work out a new collective bargaining agreement with management, but thus far, the terms being offered by management have been unsatisfactory. As such, a strike is all but imminent.

Should a strike happen, this could have a dramatic effect on imports to Iceland, on which the country depends for practically every aspect of life.

“There’s nothing we can see on the table that would relieve the situation,” Guðmundur Ragnarsson, the chairperson of the Society of Engineers labour union, told reporters. “It’s my opinion, going by the way the situation is now and the countless meetings we’ve had, that there’s nothing else coming up but a strike.”

If a strike commences, about a hundred workers are expected to walk off the job tonight. This would effectively halt the offloading of five Eimskip ships and two Samskip ships. The most likely products to be effected by the would be fresh fruits and vegetables, leading to a food shortage in the country.

Negotiations are continuing at the time of this writing.

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