Minister of Interior Ólöf Nordal submitted a bill to force continued overtime work for air traffic controllers, which was quickly passed by the ruling coalition.
Kjarninn reports that the negative impact this strike has on tourism in Iceland was cited as the primary reason for intervening in the labour dispute. RÚV reports that the government has approved the measure, which compels air traffic controllers to work overtime.
“It is important for international commitments to offer secure, efficient and safe air traffic,” the language of the bill argues. “These situations harm industries, including tourism. It is crucial that the economic stability will not be jeopardized by unforeseen consequences in the labour market. Air traffic operations have disrupted 1,200 Icelandair flights and affected 200,000 passengers. The delays of WOW-air flights have affected about 20,000 passengers. Besides that, about 20 other airlines have been affected by it.”
Air traffic controllers are less than pleased with the measure, RÚV reports. Their union points out that every fifth hour they work is in overtime, due to a severe shortage of workers. The union says they will operate within legal bounds, and that it is still up to the discretion of individual air traffic controllers whether they work overtime or not.
The government has given labour and management until June 24 to reach a new agreement. If no agreement is reached at that time, the government will appoint an arbitration committee to dictate the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement.
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