From Iceland — Strike Deemed Legal By Courts, Will Begin As Scheduled

Strike Deemed Legal By Courts, Will Begin As Scheduled

Published March 7, 2019

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

A one-day work stoppage of hotel and guesthouse cleaning, housekeeping and laundry services will move forward as planned, as the courts have rejected management’s contentions that the action is illegal.

As reported, Efling plans on holding a one-day work stoppage on March 8, which will “apply to cleaning, housekeeping and laundry services for rooms and other sleeping accommodation and connected areas and services … in all hotels and guesthouses in the area which Efling has jurisdiction over”. This jurisdiction covers a wide area, including “Reykjavík, Kópavogur, Seltjarnarnes, Mosfellsbær, Kjós, Grímsnes og Grafningshreppur, Hveragerði, Ölfus County, and additionally Hafnarfjörður and Garðabær.”

Workers voted in favour of the measure, but the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA), which represents management, issued a statement whereby they contended the work stoppage is illegal, and so the matter was taken to félagsdómur, a special court for labour arbitration.

Efling has announced today that the courts found in favour of the union. The work stoppage is therefore completely legal, and will move forward as scheduled.

The stoppage will extend from 10:00 until 23:59 of March 8. Furthermore, these workers are advised to go to the Gamla Bíó theatre in downtown Reykjavík, where they will be given their strike pay. At 16:00, these workers will march through downtown, passing many of the major hotels in the area, and re-assemble at Gamla Bíó at 17:00 for further activities, the details of which can be read about here.

Hotel workers are often paid the bare legal minimum for their trade, and while management has contended they have no room for pay rises, their profits, free cash and holdings total in the billions.

More and longer strikes may also be in the works in the weeks and months ahead, pending worker approval.

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