Icelandic Midwives Reach Agreement - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelandic Midwives Reach Agreement

Published July 24, 2018

Noemi Ehrat
Photos by
Art Bicnick

The midwives’ union met with members of Landspítali hospital today in order to reach an agreement over the ongoing labour dispute. Morgunblaðið reports that a similar meeting was held in Akureyri at the same time.

The next step will be that the midwives themselves will vote on the proposal put forward by Landspítali, with results expected by Wednesday. Midwives who have already resigned will not be eligible to vote. Head of the midwives’ committee Katrín Sif Sigurgeirsdóttir expects the midwives to accept the proposition. She is optimistic about the future and told Visir, “I think this result is as far as we could go.” The compromise includes some rise in wages for the midwives, as well as a cancellation of the ban on overtime work.

Morgunblaðið further reports that an arbitration panel will investigate whether the midwives’ wages correspond to their duration of education and stress level and to what extent these factors should affect their salaries, which was one of the main disputes.

Only one step into the right direction

In the meantime, none of the roughly 30 midwives who quit have withdrawn their terminations at Landspítali. Director of Landspítali Páll Matthíasson said that services will not be fully available until most of them will have returned to work. Midwife Guðlaug María Sigurðardóttir told RÚV that some midwives will await the arbitration ruling, that will be due September 1, to decide whether they will go back to work as midwives or not.

Eva Laufey Stefánsdóttir, who worked at the hospital in Akureyri, said that she is not quite content with the outcome of the arbitration, as the status of midwives was still nowhere close to comparable jobs. “It’s a step into the right direction, but there are many things missing,” she told RÚV. She hopes that the midwives’ wages will be further adjusted, although she fears that this will not be the case.


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