From Iceland — Arbitration Court Rules Work Restrictions Illegal, Strikes Still On Schedule

Arbitration Court Rules Work Restrictions Illegal, Strikes Still On Schedule

Published March 18, 2019

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick/ASÍ

Iceland’s arbitration court has ruled that work restrictions planned by unions are not legal, but the strikes will move forward as scheduled.

Amongst the actions planned by the labour unions Efling and VR this month, apart from regular strikes, certain work restrictions were also scheduled. These included such things as bus drivers not accepting fares, or hotel workers not doing laundry.

This type of labour action is almost entirely unheard of in Iceland, although far more common in other parts of the world. RÚV reports that Iceland’s arbitration court has ruled that these particular actions do not fall under the purview of the law. Their verdict basically came down to one point: a worker is either on the job, doing everything their job entails, or is off the job.

Regardless, the unions are undeterred, and both Efling and VR still plan on going ahead with the strike actions they had scheduled. These workers include many hotel workers, as well as many bus drivers and workers for Almenningsvagnar Kynnisferða—which services a part of capital area public transport company Strætó’s buses.

The schedule of strikes for these workers are as follows:

March 22
March 28-29
April 3-5
April 9-11
April 15-17
April 23-25
May 1 will be the start of the indefinite strike if management makes no acceptable offer by that time.

The hotels which will be directly affected are the following:

Fosshótel Reykjavík ehf.
Íslandshótel hf.
Flugleiðahótel ehf.
Cabin ehf.
Hótel Saga ehf.
Miðbæjarhótel/Centerhotels ehf.
Hótel Klettur ehf.
Örkin Veitingar ehf.
Keahótel ehf.
Hótel Frón ehf.
Hótel 1919 ehf.
Hótel Óðinsvé hf.
Hótel Leifur Eiríksson ehf.
Hótel Smári ehf.
Fjörukráin ehf. (Hotel Viking)
Hótel Holt Hausti ehf.
Hótelkeðjan ehf.
CapitalHotels ehf.
Kex Hostel
101 (einn núll einn) hótel ehf.

Bus routes 11 through 17; 21 through 24; 28; 31; 33 through 36; 43 and 44 will be directly affected. Routes 1 through 7 and 18 will not. Bus services for the disabled will continue uninterrupted.

All of these actions depend on whether or not management brings an offer to the negotiations table that satisfy worker proposals. Workers are not only fighting for a living wage but also tax relief, rent control, and actual penalties for companies which violate labour contracts and the law.

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