From Iceland — Strike News: Evidence Arises Of Hotel Owners, Bus Companies Strike-Breaking

Strike News: Evidence Arises Of Hotel Owners, Bus Companies Strike-Breaking

Published March 22, 2019

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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The Grapevine has been receiving reports from union workers that several hotels and bus companies have been attempting to break today’s strike. These tactics reportedly include misinforming workers, pressuring them to work through the strike day, and intimidating union strike observers.

As reported, many hotel workers and bus drivers are striking today. While this strike is to last only one day, hotel owners and bus companies have reportedly taken steps to get around it. This is especially egregious as strike-breaking tactics are prohibited and punishable by law.

One of the tactics being used, a union official who contacted Grapevine reports, has been making hotel housekeeping workers do the day before the work meant for today, in order to make the strike ineffective. Managers for KEA Hotel, they contend, have used this tactic.

Hotel Nordica has reportedly blocked union strike observers from coming into their hotels and preventing them from parking their truck. Valgerður Árnadóttir, an Efling official, told Vísir that some managers have been telling workers that if they go on strike, their companies will go bankrupt and they will lose their jobs. This Valgerður contends is tantamount to threatening workers with losing their jobs if they strike.

Misinformation has also reportedly been used by management against workers. This includes telling workers that those not in a union are not obliged to strike, which Efling contends is untrue; that anyone who is doing the work covered by the union is a part of the strike. The union has also seen cases where new hires for hotel housekeeping have not been assigned a union right away, and were therefore told to work through the strike by management.

Furthermore, Efling also contends that their strike patrol has also had to intervene at the BSÍ bus terminal because of possible strike-breaking going on there.

Below is a letter from management addressed to hotel workers. A union official who spoke to Grapevine criticised the wording of this letter as being confusing for workers; in particular, the first point could be taken to mean that only workers who personally voted to strike can go on strike today. (Article continues after photo)

This particular strike is due to end at 23:59 today. A full schedule of further strikes is publicly available.

The labour dispute now 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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