Labour News: Seamen Postpone Strike, Teachers Ready To Walk - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Labour News: Seamen Postpone Strike, Teachers Ready To Walk

Published November 16, 2016

Photos by
Art Bicnick

Collective bargaining agreements are the centerpiece of two major labour disputes in Iceland right now: seamen and primary school teachers.

Vísir reports that the seamen’s union of Grindavík (SVG) will postpone their strike at 14:00 today, in light of a new collective bargaining agreement between them and fishing companies. Their strike began last Friday when talks broke down between workers and management, and now the workers will have to review the new agreement in order to decide whether to vote to keep it or reject it.

However, not all is rosy on the labour front. RÚV reports that about 1,000 primary school teachers held a meeting yesterday, where their low pay was the subject of heated discussion. These teachers, who are municipal workers, are currently in negotiations with the cooperation of a state arbitrator, and have been working without a valid contract since last spring.

Numerous grade school teachers have already walked off the job. While their grievances have been ongoing for months now, the tipping point came when the Wage Committee announced massive pay rises for government ministers and the president late last month.

Collective bargaining is likely to be a hot issue in the coming year. Unions are already increasing their strike funds in preparation.

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