Drífa Snædal has just become to first woman to be elected to the presidency of the Confederation of Icelandic Labour Unions (ASÍ) in the entire 102-year history of the organisation, according to an announcement from ASÍ.
Drífa’s victory was a decisive one, winning 65.8% of the vote with 192 ballots cast in her favour. She hails from a leftist background, having previously served as the managing director of the Leftist-Greens, but left the party in the wake of last year’s snap elections. She has been the managing director of the Federation of General and Special Workers in Iceland (SGS) since 2012.
The newly elected vice president is Vilhjálmur Birgisson, head of the Akranes Labour Union and himself an outspoken advocate for worker’s rights in Iceland.
The elections reflect a growing sea change in Iceland’s labour movement. Earlier this year, an immigrant-heavy candidate list won elections for the board of Efling, one of Iceland’s largest labour unions. This board has since been committed to fighting for the rights of immigrant workers in particular.
Drífa has long contended that radical changes are needed within ASÍ to fight harder for the interests of working people in Iceland. With collective bargaining negotiations in numerous sectors coming up soon, Drífa’s election reflects the strengthening labour movement in Iceland, and could mean tougher negotiations with management in the coming weeks.