From Iceland — Seamen's Strike Begins Tonight

Seamen’s Strike Begins Tonight

Published November 10, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Negotiations have broken down, and now thousands of seamen are ready to walk off the job tonight.

RÚV reports that seamen and management will be meeting with state arbitrators today for one final attempt at a collective bargaining agreement. Should those talks fail, 3,500 seamen will officially go on strike at 23:00 tonight.

As reported, the vast majority of unionised seamen voted in favour of going on strike last month. The length of the strike is indefinite, putting the onus on collective bargaining or state arbitration to resolve the matter.

One of the more contentious parts of the labour dispute is the fact that management of Iceland’s major fisheries intend to offset added government fees by taking the needed funds directly from catch values. This essentially moves money away from the seamen and into the hands of management, to help cover costs that they need to pay for.

Fishing accounts for about 8% of Iceland’s GDP, and is one of the pillars of the economy. As such, management only has about three weeks to offer seamen a satisfactory contract before the strike begins.

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