From Iceland — Teachers Narrowly Approve New Collective Bargaining Agreement

Teachers Narrowly Approve New Collective Bargaining Agreement

Published December 13, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Julia Staples

Iceland’s primary school teachers voted narrowly in favour of the collective bargaining agreement their union had signed with municipalities last month.

RÚV reports that voter participation was high, with just under 91% of primary school teachers voting. Even so, voting was fairly close: 55.12% voted in favour of the new contract, while 42.9% voted against it. The remaining ballots were invalid.

As reported, teachers have been working without an active collective bargaining agreement since last spring, and the Wage Committee announcing massive pay rises for government ministers and the president late last month pushed teachers to the breaking point.

In the wake of teachers’ grievances, parents sent letters to City Hall, asking municipal authorities to abide the demands of the teachers and offer a better agreement proposal.

Further, even students got involved. Vísir reports that primary school students across the country planned events to show their support for their teachers – as they have done in the past.

Numerous other collective bargaining struggles are expected in the coming year, and these disputes could get heated, as unions are already increasing their strike funds in preparation.

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