From Iceland — Solution May Be Soon At Hand In Fishermen's Labour Dispute

Solution May Be Soon At Hand In Fishermen’s Labour Dispute

Published February 16, 2017

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Timothée Lambrecq

The Ministry of Fisheries recently met with fishing unions and fishing company representatives in the hopes of resolving a strike that has been going on for about two months now.

RÚV reports that Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir met with the parties in dispute last night. Upon emerging from the meeting, she told reporters that she put forward her own offer to resolve matters, such as those regarding daily funds for fishermen with respect to current purchasing power.

“We see how the situation is, and that it is possible to respond to the wishes of the fishermen,” she said in part. “That is what we are prepared to do.”

As reported, 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.

This has already started to have real effects on markets abroad, with The Guardian, amongst others, reporting that the ongoing dispute between Iceland’s fishermen and fishing companies has already started to have a real effect on the British supply of cod and haddock.

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