Unions Gearing Up For A Stormy 2017 - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Unions Gearing Up For A Stormy 2017

Photos by
Art Bicnick

The Icelandic Confederation of Labour (ASÍ) voted last week to increase their strike fund by over 67%, as labour leadership predicts many labour unions will be fighting hard in collective bargaining negotiations in the coming year.

RÚV reports that ASÍ will be transferring an additional 143 million ISK to their strike fund, which already had 212 million ISK in it. In the reasoning for the decision, ASÍ says that “great uncertainty” in the labour market necessitates preparation for any steps the unions may need to take.

In fact, sources close to RÚV say that labour leadership is expecting matters to heat up significantly next February, when a large share of collective bargaining agreements will run out and will need to be negotiated again.

This does not even include workers in sectors who are working without a collective bargaining agreement. As reported, despite fishing being one of the pillars of the Icelandic economy, seamen have been working without a contract for six years now. They are set to go on strike next month.

Most workplaces in Iceland are unionised. As there is no minimum wage in Iceland, unions in each sector needs to negotiate the terms of its wages and benefits with management. Should negotiations break down, state arbitrators step in, although this is not always enough to stop a strike.


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