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Whalers In Iceland Forbidden From Being In Labour Union

Whalers In Iceland Forbidden From Being In Labour Union

Photos by
Art Bicnick

Published June 21, 2018

Workers within the whaling company Hvalur hf. have been informed by the company that they may not be members of a labour union that recently won a back-wages cases against them in court. A lawyer for the union believes this measure is illegal.

Vilhjálmur Birgisson, chairperson of the Akranes Labour Union (Verkalýðsfélag Akraness), brought the matter to light on his Facebook today, just as whale hunting is kicking off.

Vilhjálmur says that when workers showed up for a meeting with management representatives for Hvalur hf., they were informed that no one working for Hvalur hf. was allowed to be in the Akranes Labour Union anymore. They were told to instead join the West Iceland Labour Union, even though the company lies with Akranes Labour Union territory.

Vilhjálmur believes this order is meant to “punish” his union. RÚV reported on June 14 that the High Court had ordered the whaling company to pay about half a million ISK to a former employee for breach of contract. This case was filed by the Akranes Labour Union.

A lawyer for the union has filed a complaint against Hvalur hf., contending that this ban of theirs is “completely illegal”, referring to Iceland’s existing laws on labour unions.


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